What it means to be a doctor

Why did we commission this research?

The research was commissioned to help us gain an in-depth understanding of the professional experiences and perceptions of doctors that impact on the ways they practice, develop their careers and their future plans. Understanding these challenges can help us to become a more effective regulator, by targeting our support and interventions appropriately. 

What were the key findings?

  • Overall, two thirds (68%) of doctors are satisfied with their day to day work as a doctor and one in four (27%) are dissatisfied. 
  • Longer shift lengths, rota gaps and an increase in locum work, are all perceived by doctors to have had a negative impact on their work as a doctor.
  • Doctors report that the intensity of the patient workload, and increased time spent working, mean that they have to take steps to maintain their own mental health.
  • Many doctors (38%) are considering decreasing their hours in the next three years, with work life balance being a concern reported throughout the study.
  • High proportions of survey respondents (96% and 94% respectively) said that having time to keep up to date with developments in medicine, and participating in courses related to professional development, is an important aspect of being a doctor.  

What did the research involve?

The research used a mixed methods approach including depth interviews with a range of stakeholders, a survey of 2,602 doctors from the medical register and 25 in-depth follow up interviews with the profession.  

Download research 

What it means to be a doctor