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Morale decline: workforce survey shows plummeting satisfaction

Only one in five doctors are satisfied with their current careers, a BMA survey reveals.

Man looking out of windowThe association’s quarterly tracker survey of views across the medical profession shows that morale has declined year on year.

GPs have the lowest satisfaction with their work-life balance but consultants saw the largest drop in reported satisfaction with the split between free and work time.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said: ‘The survey findings highlight the impact of the immense pressures on the NHS with three out of four GPs and half of consultants describing their workload as unmanageable. 

'Morale has also plummeted further since last year, leaving only one in five doctors stating they are satisfied with their current careers and many GPs and consultants considering early retirement.

‘The Government this week pledged an additional £2bn for the NHS, which is a welcome move but must be part of a long-term investment programme to recruit and retain doctors to ensure patients get the highest quality of care.’

Job-security concerns

The key findings from the BMA quarterly tracker survey, Current View from Across the Medical Profession, include: 

  • Three in 10 respondents were working less than full-time and these doctors were most likely to be GPs
  • Around three-quarters of GPs and more than half of consultants report an unmanageable or unsustainable workload
  • 50 per cent of respondents described their morale as low or very low, up from 40 per cent last quarter
  • GPs and staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors were the most concerned about job security, with junior doctors being the least concerned
  • More than half had seen an increase in waiting times for patients and 35 per cent have seen a breach in the four-hour emergency medicine target at their hospitals or one nearby in the three months up to September
  • Of those who reported unmanageable or unsustainable workloads, 90 per cent had considered retiring early, working less than full-time, working overseas or leaving the profession altogether
  • One in 10 of the doctors who raised concerns about the standards of patient care in their workplace felt they had been penalised for doing so. This figure has not changed since September 2013 despite attempts to encourage NHS whistleblowing.

The survey was sent to 1,020 doctors of which 451 responded. 

Read the survey

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