Every three years, the US-based Commonwealth Fund coordinates a survey of general practitioners (GPs) and primary care physicians across 11 countries. This report provides UK-focused analysis of the 2015 survey, which included several UK-specific questions funded by the Health Foundation. The report centres on three topics of particular interest: GP satisfaction, care coordination and use of electronic medical records.

Download Under pressure.

The survey provides insight into how GPs perceive their working lives and practices at a time when health services across the UK are seeking to develop more services in primary care.

Key findings

  • 29% of GPs in the UK want to leave the profession within five years: understanding this phenomenon and retaining existing GPs needs to be a priority for policy makers.
  • GPs in the UK report higher levels of stress and lower satisfaction with practising medicine compared to other countries in the survey. 67% of UK GPs report being satisfied compared to an average of 79% across all other countries.  
  • A key area of dissatisfaction is the length of appointment times – 92% of GPs report spending less than 15 minutes with patients, compared to an average of 27% across all other countries
  • GPs in all countries report struggling to coordinate care for their patients. The UK compares favourably in terms of communication between hospitals and GPs. However, GPs report challenges coordinating care with social services and community providers.
  • The UK is a leader in the use of electronic medical records, with 98% of GPs routinely using an EMR in daily practice.

Further reading

Jewel in the crown or rough diamond?

What do you want first: the good news or the bad news? The good news is that we are one of the best of 11 developed nations at coordination in primary care. The bad news is that we are one of th...



Andrew Anderson

Did 29% of your survey say they "wanted" to leave the profession within five years, or did they say they "intended" to do so? Your headline says one, the survey report says the other. What was the question actually asked?

Also, could you tell me how representative were the 1,001 GPs who responded of those you contacted? And why was England under-represented and the other parts of the UK over-represented?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Edward Davies

Hi Andrew,
The question used was: In five years, do you intend to…? They were then given the options shown in the report and could answer one or not sure.

In terms of sample we tried to get it as representative as possible but there is a slight weighting applied – we were given the data both raw and weighted by the fieldwork firm and what you see in the report is weighted. We are aware that there is however some error margin as a result and have tried to show this on all charts comparing countries within the UK.
Hope that helps.

Add new comment

* indicates a required field

Your email address will not be published on the site and will only be used if we need to contact you about your comment.

View our comments policy