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GP Workforce Questionnaire

Please click the link to complete our GP Workforce Questionnaire.

Qualified GPs registered on the NHS England Performer’s List in South West England have been invited to complete a brief online survey to indicate the likelihood of leaving or taking a break from direct patient care within the next 5 years.

All replies will be confidential, published survey data will be anonymised and we will not report or publish any individual-level or practice-level identifiable data, or release such data to anyone outside of the research teams at the Universities or Exeter or Bristol. To encourage participation, we are offering all participants entry into a prize draw: five winners will each receive a Kindle.

A sub-sample of those considering taking a break or leaving direct patient care, and those who have already left or are on a career break, will be invited to be interviewed (you can complete the questionnaire without consenting to interview). Interviews will take place face-to-face or by telephone on a mutually agreed day and time. Interviews will last no more than 30-60 minutes and will be completely confidential. You would be financially reimbursed for your time.

Why do GPs leave the workforce?

The University of Exeter Medical School has been commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research to investigate the factors contributing to GPs’ decisions to leave direct patient care (leading to career breaks or early retirement/retirement before the age of 60).

It is widely recognised that England faces a significant and imminent problem in respect of GP workforce capacity. Some GPs are considering leaving the clinical workforce, and in some places, fewer newly qualified doctors are choosing a career in general practice. There is potential for an important imbalance in the demand for primary care and the capacity to deliver it.

The ReGROUP study aims to explore GPs’ decision-making about taking a break from or leaving direct patient care, and possible ways to facilitate GP retention.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the researchers directly:

Project Manager, Emily Fletcher: e.fletcher@exeter.ac.uk, 01392 722 826

Researcher, Dr Anna Sansom: a.sansom@exeter.ac.uk, 01392 726 189

Further details

Please see further details for participants below.

The University of Exeter Medical School has been commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to investigate the factors contributing to GPs’ decisions to leave direct patient care (leading to career breaks or early retirement/retirement before the age of 60). The ReGROUP study aims to explore GPs’ decision-making about taking a break from or leaving direct patient care, the impact on general practice organisation and management, and possible ways to facilitate GP retention.

Our study questionnaire has been sent to all qualified GPs registered on the NHS England Performer’s List in South West England to gather information on the likelihood of GPs in this region leaving or taking a break from direct patient care within the next 5 years. We may also invite you to take part in an interview with a member of the research team regarding work-life issues, although you may return the questionnaire without agreeing to take part in an interview.

There are two phases to being involved in this study. The first phase involves completing and returning a GP Workforce Questionnaire – this includes a question about your willingness to be contacted about being interviewed. You may complete and return the questionnaire without taking part in an interview. If you do agree to take part in an interview, this second phase would be conducted by a researcher from the study team. They would ask to talk with you about your work-life issues and your decision-making regarding leaving or taking a break from direct patient care. The interview would be either face-to-face, in a location to suit you, or over the telephone, and would take about 30-60 minutes. We would financially reimburse you for giving your time for the interview, through a monetary voucher given directly to you. Please note that we plan to conduct a small number of interviews and so will only interview a sample of those expressing an interest based on retirement/career break status, i.e. not everyone expressing an interest will be contacted.

If you agree to take part, please complete and return our questionnaire in the reply-paid envelope provided. If you also agree to provide your contact details for an interview on the second page of the questionnaire, you may be contacted by a researcher from the study team. They will tell you more about the project and answer any questions you might have. You can then decide whether you wish to be interviewed or not.

You do not have to take part in this study. If you provide your contact details for an interview, this will not commit you to taking part in an interview. It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part in the research. If you decide to take part in the study, you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason. 

We hope that this project will allow us to develop our understanding about why GPs decide to leave direct patient care and to develop and ‘road-test’ some policies and strategies that might be expected to encourage GPs to remain in the workforce. Your survey reply (if you agree) will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five Kindles. Some of the interview questions would relate to your personal circumstances and some individuals may be asked to reflect on health issues which can, in some cases, cause distress. You would be invited to answer only as much or as little as you feel comfortable. Should any such difficulties arise during an interview, the researcher would be able to offer support. 

The information you give to us as part of the study will be entirely confidential, will be handled and stored securely, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, and in accordance with research governance guidelines. No information that could reveal your identity will be disclosed to anyone outside of the research team at the Universities of Exeter and Bristol without your permission. Audio recordings of interviews will be stored with a unique study ID and without name or other identifiable information before being transcribed by an external agency. Study data will be kept securely for 10 years after which electronic data will be permanently deleted from databases and electronic files. Paper-based data will be shredded through confidential waste disposal.

Although Practice Managers and other GPs will be aware of the survey being undertaken, no third parties will be informed as to your taking part in this study.

The results of this study will be reported to the NHS funding body, published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and may also be presented at scientific conferences. None of the study participants will be identified in any presentation, report or publications arising from the study. If you are interested in obtaining a summary of the results, or a copy of any publication(s), you will be able to ask the research team to send you a copy when the results are available.

The study is being organised by researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, and the University of Bristol. The study is being funded by a grant from the NIHR’s Health Services & Delivery Research (HS&DR) programme, part of the Department of Health.

The study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Exeter Medical School’s Research Ethics Committee (Reference: 15/11/085). It has also been approved by the Research & Development teams from the relevant NHS trusts where the research is being undertaken.

If you would like more information or have any questions about the ReGROUP project, please contact the study manager, Emily Fletcher, by telephone (01392 722826) or by e-mail (e.fletcher@exeter.ac.uk), or write to her at: University of Exeter Medical School, Smeall Building, St Luke’s Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU.

If you have any complaints about the way in which this study has been carried out please contact the Co-chairs of the University of Exeter Medical School Research Ethics Committee:
Ruth Garside, PhD or Rob Anderson, PhD uemsethics@exeter.ac.uk