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Chapter 4: Job satisfaction and work–life balance

4.3 Hours of work

Four out of five GPs are satisfied or very satisfied with the hours they work (Figure 43).

GPs who are part or majority owners of a general practice report they work longer hours than GPs who are not practice owners. GPs who work in a solo practice also report working longer hours in a typical week (Figure 46).

GPs on average see 102 patients each week 32
GPs on average spend 16 minutes with each patient 32

Figure 46. Practice owners and GPs working in solo practices are the most likely to work ≥40 hours per week

Practice owners and GPs working in solo practices are the most likely to work ≥40 hours per week

Measure: GP responses to the question ‘Approximately, how many hours do you spend at work during a typical week? Include all the hours of work you do as a doctor at all your places of work, including home visits’, split by GP main place of work, and by those who report they are a part or majority owner of a general practice.
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

More than half of registrars intend to work part time after they finish training40

As discussed in section 2.2.3, GPs are reducing their work hours, with the proportion reporting that they work <39 hours in a typical week increasing by 3% from 2019.2 Younger GPs are also more likely to work ≤39 hours than GPs aged ≥45 years (Figure 47).

More than half (52%) of registrars surveyed in the 2019 AGPT National Registrar Survey report that they intend to work part time after they complete their training.40

GPs in rural areas continue to work longer hours than their colleagues in metropolitan areas (Figure 47).

In general, regional/rural GPs are less likely to report they have a manageable workload (43%) than GPs in metropolitan areas (53%).5 For further discussion on the business challenges faced by rural GPs, refer to section 5.1.2.

Figure 47. Male GPs and GPs located in regional and rural areas are the most likely to report working ≥40 hours per week

Male GPs and GPs located in regional and rural areas are the most likely to report working ≥40 hours per week

Measure: GP responses to the question ‘Approximately, how many hours do you spend at work during a typical week? Include all the hours of work you do as a doctor at all your places of work, including home visits’, split by GP personal characteristics
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

More than seven in ten GPs report their workload does not impact on their ability to provide high-quality patient care. More than one in two GPs report their workload is manageable, which is unchanged from 2019.2 In line with this, a similar proportion of GPs report having an excessive workload that sometimes prevents them from providing high-quality care (23%), in comparison to 2019 (24%) (Figure 48).2

GPs are able to maintain a good work–life balance, and many perceive this balance has improved over the past five years (Figure 49). This may be linked to the increase in the proportion of GPs choosing to work part time.5

However, work–life balance is the most commonly reported challenge for GPs, with 47% including this in their top three challenges.5
 

Figure 48. The majority of GPs can provide high-quality care regardless of their workload*

The majority of GPs can provide high-quality care regardless of their workload

*Data representing less than 5% is not labelled
Measure: GP responses to the question ‘Which statement best describes the relationship between your workload and the quality of care that your patients receive?’
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

Figure 49. GPs are able to maintain a good work–life balance

GPs are able to maintain a good work–life balance

Measure: GP responses to the question ‘To what extent do you disagree or agree with the following statements?’
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

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