General Practice

Factors influencing the response to advertisements for general practice vacancies

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:468
  1. Robin Carlisle, research lecturer and general practitionera,
  2. Sue Johnstone, research assistantb
  1. a Nottingham University Department of General Practice, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  2. b Directorate of Public Health and Clinical practice, North Nottinghamshire Health, Rainworth, Nottinghamshire NG21 0ER
  • Accepted 17 May 1996


Objectives: To investigate the extent of problems in recruiting general practitioners and to determine which practice characteristics affect recruitment—in particular, to see if practices with deprived patients have more recruitment problems.

Design: Postal questionnaire survey in August 1995.

Subjects: 489 consecutive practices that had advertised for a partner in the BMJ from January to April 1995.

Main outcome measures: The number of applicants, the practices' satisfaction with their quantity and quality, and whether a successful appointment was made.

Results: 442 (90%) practices replied. 262 practices (60%) were not very satisfied or very dissatisfied with the number of applications they received; 15 (3%) received no applications. There was a significant difference in the number of applications received by practices in different NHS regions. The 32 practices with the highest proportions of patients eligible for deprivation payments received a median of five applicants compared with 10 for practices without deprivation.

Conclusion: There is a widespread problem in recruiting general practitioners. Recruitment is hardest in areas with the greatest health needs.


  • Funding Royal College of General Practitioners' scientific board.

  • Conflict of interest None.

  • Accepted 17 May 1996
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