Background A key element of the NHS is universal access to a GP. Recently, UK general practice has been described as being in crisis, with training places unfilled and multiple practices reporting vacancies or facing closure. The recruitment of GPs continues to be a key focus for both the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the government.
Aim To understand the attitudes of newly qualified doctors towards a career in general practice, to appreciate potential reasons for the crisis in GP recruitment, and to recommend ways to improve recruitment.
Design and setting A qualitative study comprising five focus groups with 74 Foundation Year 1 (FY1) doctors from one Yorkshire deanery.
Method Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis undertaken.
Results Foundation Year 1 doctors’ thoughts towards a career in general practice were summarised in four themes: quality of life, job satisfaction, uncertainty surrounding the future of general practice, and the lack of respect for GPs among both doctors and the public. Participants felt that general practice could provide a good work–life balance, fair pay, and job stability. Job satisfaction, with the ability to provide care from the cradle to the grave, and to work within a community, was viewed positively. Uncertainties around future training, skill levels, pay, and workload, together with a perceived stigma experienced in medical schools and hospitals, were viewed as a deterrent to a career in general practice.
Conclusion This study has gathered the opinions of doctors at a critical point in their careers, before they choose a future specialty. Findings highlight areas of concern and potential deterrents to a career in general practice, together with recommendations to address these issues.
- Received August 15, 2016.
- Revision requested August 31, 2016.
- Accepted October 14, 2016.
- © British Journal of General Practice 2017