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More than half of salaried and locum GPs suffering from work related stress warns new BMA survey

A new BMA survey of more than 2,000 salaried and locum GPs has shown half are suffering from work related stress, with one in ten forced to take time off from work.

The poll of 2,079 GPs was carried out by the BMA’s sessional GP subcommittee, which represents salaried and locum GPs in the UK. Key findings include:

  • Over half (52 per cent) of all sessional GPs reported having felt unwell due to work-related stress in the last 12 months. Such symptoms were most likely to be among those working full time or in a salaried role, where the figure was over six in ten (62 per cent).  
  • More than one in 10 sessional GPs (11 per cent) reported taking time off due to work-related stress in the last year, with salaried GPs the most likely to report needing a break from work (14 per cent). 
  • The vast majority of GPs reported an increase in workload, with three quarters of salaried GPs noting a rise (76 per cent).
  • Seven out of ten locum GPs indicated they would consider leaving the profession if a locum cap was introduced in general practice, either by quitting the profession (28 per cent), moving overseas (25 per cent) or retiring early (17 per cent). A further one in ten would think about taking a career break (8 per cent).

Dr Zoe Norris, BMA GP Sessional subcommittee chair said:
“This wide ranging survey lays bare the real workload crisis that is threatening to overwhelm the locum and salaried GP workforce. It cannot be healthy that more than half are suffering from the impact of work related stress that is clearly being caused by a working environment starved of resources despite rising patient demand2. Further measures that damage locum pay could result in an exodus of these hard working professionals that will only make this already difficult situation even more problematic. 

“The urgency of these challenges cannot be understated, especially the mental health of those responsible for delivering frontline care to patients. Locum and salaried doctors must be seen as a key part of the solution to problems that are threatening to overwhelm our NHS.”

The key findings from the survey can be found here.


Notes to Editors

The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.

1 More information about the GP locum cap can be found here.

2. Information about the pressures on general practice can be found in this BMA briefing paper.

For further information please contact:

British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
Telephone: 020 7383 6448 
Email: [email protected]
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