Research Article

Employment experiences of vocationally trained doctors.

BMJ 1991; 303 doi: (Published 28 September 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;303:762
  1. K Osler


    OBJECTIVES--To investigate the expectations and employment experiences of male and female doctors who completed vocational training in East Anglia during 1981-7 and to examine the factors which had influenced those who had changed direction early in their careers. DESIGN--Survey conducted by confidential postal questionnaire. SETTING--Britain. SUBJECTS--281 doctors, 233 (83%) of whom responded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Ideal choice of work on completion of vocational training; present employment; factors which had restricted present choice of work; factors associated with reported satisfaction with job. RESULTS--77/83 (93%) men and 130/150 (87%) women had hoped to work in general practice (p = 0.75). A smaller proportion of women (71%; 106) than men (89%; 74) were in general practice posts (p less than 0.01); only 6% (nine) of women were on maternity leave or caring for children without paid employment. More women than men were working in medical jobs other than general practice (18% (27) women v 4% (three) men; p less than 0.01). 44/91 (49%) women with children had achieved their employment goals compared with 47/59 (80%) women without children and 55/71 (78%) men with children. 87% (72/83) of men and 65% (98/150) of women had achieved the status of principal (p less than 0.01). 162/193 (84%) doctors who had worked in general practice reported satisfaction with their jobs. Dissatisfaction was linked with doing a job different from that hoped for and with perceiving that the share of practice income did not accurately reflect their share of the practice workload. CONCLUSIONS--Steps need to be taken to retain women in general practice, including a statutory part time pay allowance and incentives for practices to allow flexible working hours for doctors with young children.