Workplace factors influencing General Practitioner wellbeing, potential coping strategies, and consequences for patient care


  • L. Hall
  • J. Johnson
  • J. Heyhoe
  • I. Watt
  • D. O'Connor


Background: Increasing numbers of General Practitioners (GPs) are suffering from poor wellbeing and/or burnout, but there is a lack of qualitative studies investigating this area. In order to address this, the present study aimed to explore 1) workplace factors contributing to GP wellbeing and burnout, 2) strategies to help prevent burnout and improve wellbeing, 3) GPs perceptions on the consequences of burnout and poor wellbeing on patient care. Methods: Five focus groups with 25 GPs in the UK were held between September 2015 and February 2016. Discussions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Findings: Workplace factors contributing to GP wellbeing fell under two distinct themes: Internal Influencers, and External Influencers. Similarly, strategies to improve wellbeing and prevent burnout fell under two corresponding themes: Individual and Practice Level Strategies, and External Changes. There were clear parallels between the sub-themes within the factors influencing GPs’ wellbeing, and strategies to improve wellbeing. These included: Breaks, Support, Control, and Resources. GPs’ perceptions of how poor wellbeing and burnout could impact on patient care fell under three themes: 1) Quality of care, 2) Patient safety, and 3) Downward Spiral. Discussion: The strategies suggested by GPs to improve wellbeing warrant further consideration by researchers, policy makers, physicians, and healthcare organizations worldwide. Failure to do so may result in healthcare staff becoming even more burnt-out, which could have detrimental consequences for physicians’ health, the number of doctors in the workforce, and patient safety.





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