The most common professional challenge reported by GPs is ensuring fair remuneration for skills and services provided (71%), followed by managing fatigue and burnout (58%), understanding and adhering to regulatory and policy changes (55%), and maintaining work–life balance (55%).41 These findings align with previous editions of the Health of the Nation report, in which themes of work–life balance and income are consistently reported as top challenges by GPs.††
Although challenges reported by GPs can vary over the course of their career, remuneration remains a top priority across the spectrum. Managing fatigue and burnout is most reported by GPs one to four years after Fellowship. Understanding and adhering to regulatory and policy changes, such as MBS rules and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) legislation, is a particular concern to GPs in the first 12 months after Fellowship (65%) and declines over time. On the other hand, the percentage of GPs reporting that maintaining work–life balance is a challenge increases over time, perhaps as they are more likely to take on greater responsibility for managing and running a practice later in their careers. Similarly, GPs later in their careers are more likely to report that sourcing and retaining quality staff, teaching and supervising, and managing administration and business operations are challenges (Figure 41).
The challenges reported by GPs and GPs in training can also vary according to the location of their practice. For example, GPs working in metropolitan areas are more likely to be concerned with remuneration, understanding regulatory and legislative requirements, and dealing with COVID-19, whereas GPs located outside major cities are more likely to be challenged by balancing work and study, accessing other medical experts, sourcing and retaining quality staff, accessing professional development, and teaching and supervising responsibilities (Figure 42).
These findings align with previous editions of the Health of the Nation report regarding the different challenges faced by GPs practising in metropolitan areas compared to regional and rural areas.††