Background The numbers of GPs and training places in general practice are declining, and retaining GPs in their practices is an increasing problem.
Aim To identify evidence on different approaches to retention and recruitment of GPs, such as intrinsic versus extrinsic motivational determinants.
Design and setting Synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research using seven electronic databases from 1990 onwards (Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, Health Management Information Consortium [HMIC], Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (Cinahl), PsycINFO, and the Turning Research Into Practice [TRIP] database).
Method A qualitative approach to reviewing the literature on recruitment and retention of GPs was used. The studies included were English-language studies from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. The titles and abstracts of 138 articles were reviewed and analysed by the research team.
Results Some of the most important determinants to increase recruitment in primary care were early exposure to primary care practice, the fit between skills and attributes, and a significant experience in a primary care setting. Factors that seemed to influence retention were subspecialisation and portfolio careers, and job satisfaction. The most important determinants of recruitment and retention were intrinsic and idiosyncratic factors, such as recognition, rather than extrinsic factors, such as income.
Conclusion Although the published evidence relating to GP recruitment and retention is limited, and most focused on attracting GPs to rural areas, the authors found that there are clear overlaps between strategies to increase recruitment and retention. Indeed, the most influential factors are idiosyncratic and intrinsic to the individuals.
- general practice
- intrinsic motivation
- job satisfaction
- primary health care
- review, systematic
- Received August 17, 2016.
- Revision requested October 18, 2016.
- Accepted December 19, 2016.
- © British Journal of General Practice 2017