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Chapter 4: Job satisfaction and work–life balance

4.2 Work variety

Ninety-four per cent of GPs are satisfied or very satisfied with the variety of their work (Figure 43).

Fifty-one per cent of GPs are very satisfied with the amount of variety in their work, compared to only 32% of hospital doctors not enrolled in training, and 50% of non-GP specialists.32

94%
of GPs are satisfied or very satisfied with the variety of their work32

Figure 43. GPs are satisfied with the variety in their work*

GPs are satisfied with the variety in their work

*Data representing less than 5% is not labelled
Measure: GP responses to ‘Please indicate how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with each of the various aspects of your work as a doctor?’
Base: Total survey respondents, n = 3077
Data source: University of Melbourne, Monash University. Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL). Data from MABEL Wave 11 survey. Melbourne: MABEL, 2020.

Figure 44. GPs spend most of their time on direct patient care activities*

GPs spend most of their time on direct patient care activities

*Due to rounding, figures do not total 100%
Measure: GP responses to the question ‘What proportion of your hours are spent on the following activities in a typical week?’
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1780
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.
 

Figure 45. GPs report that the time spent in care coordination activities has increased over the past 10 years*

GPs report that the time spent in care coordination activities has increased over the past 10 years

*Data representing less than 5% is not labelled
Measure: GP responses to the question ‘How has the proportion of time you spend on care coordination activities (patient follow up, case conferences, letters related to patient care) changed over the past 10 years?’
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

GPs report they spend 73% of their work week on direct patient care and patient consultations. However, more than a quarter of their work week is spent on other activities, such as care coordination activities including following up test results, reviewing or writing letters, administration, and teaching and learning (Figure 44). These activities are largely unfunded by Medicare. This is particularly concerning as almost nine in 10 GPs are paid as a proportion of Medicare billings (Figure 52).

The impact of these hours spent on care coordination activities is being felt. Three in four GPs perceive the time they spend on care coordination activities has significantly or slightly increased over the past 10 years (Figure 45).

GPs who own a practice are more likely to report an increase in the time spent on patient coordination (85%) than those who do not own a practice (71%).5

The relationship between the proportion of time spent on tasks, and hours worked, is similar to previous years. Those working more than 60 hours per week on average report that they spend less time directly with patients (65%) and more time on practice management and admin tasks (11%) than those working between 20 and 60 hours.5

  • 5. EY Sweeney. RACGP GP Survey, May 2020. Melbourne: EY Sweeney, 2020.
  • 32. University of Melbourne, Monash University. Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL). MABEL Wave 11 survey. Melbourne: MABEL, 2020.
  • 45. Department of Health. Primary Health Care Advisory Group Report: Better outcomes for people with chronic and complex health conditions. Canberra: DoH, 2015.

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