Who are the unhappiest doctors of all?

BMJ Survey: why are doctors so unhappy?
4 - 17 May 2001


Unhappiness league table 

Unhappiness by grade

Reasons for unhappiness  

Read background to this debate

Full results

Unhappy doctors : the league table


Unhappiness ranking

Country

 Numbers (percentages)

Very
unhappy
UnhappyNeitherHappyVery
happy
Total
respondents
1United Kingdom170(23)320 (43)131 (17)103(14)17(2)741
2Spain1 (4)17 (63) 8 (30)1 (4) 27
=3Belgium1 (7)8 (57)4 (29)1 (7) 14
=3India5 (12)24  (57)8 (19)3 (7)2 (4)42
5Greece1 (8)6 (50)4 (33)1 (8) 12
6Hong Kong2 (12)9 (53)2 (12)3 (17)1 (6)17
7Italy3 (12)12 (46)5 (19)5 (19)1 (4)26
8Canada6 (19)10 (31)7 (21)7 (21) 2 (6)32
9United States6 (14)19 (45)4 (10)8 (19)5 (11)42
10Malaysia1 (10)4 (40)2 (20)3 (30) 10
11Ireland3 (14)8 (38)3 (14)6 (29)1 (5)21
12Pakistan1 (7)4 (29)6 (43)3 (21) 14
13Brazil2 (11)5 (28)6 (33)4 (22)1 (5)18
14Sweden2 (11)6 (32)4 (21)7 (37)  19
15Israel1 (10)2 (20)4 (40)3 (30) 10
16Australia3 (4)21 (33)23 (36) 13 (20)4 (6)64
17Finland 7 (28)11 (44)7 (28) 25
18New Zealand3 (8)9 (25)11 (30)9 (25)4 (11)36
19Switzerland 3 (27)3 (27)3 (27)2 (18)11
Method: For countries with 10 or more respondents, we ascribed the following values:  
Very unhappy 2; Unhappy 1; Neither happy nor unhappy 0; Happy -1;
 Very Happy –2
and divided individual countries’ totals by the number of respondents.


Unhappiness by grade

 Primary care doctor
(general/family practice)
Secondary care doctor
(senior grade)
Secondary care doctor
(junior grade)
Doctor
(other)
Totals
Very unhappy64748511234
Unhappy13317622043572
Neither happy nor unhappy748211537308
Happy75647022231
Very happy14198950


Reasons for unhappiness

 UK DoctorsNon-UK DoctorsNon-DoctorsTotals
They are overworked48440075959
They are underpaid32737952758
They are inadequately supported32730548680
Their status is falling15916337359
They are exhausted by too much change1358833256
They have declining control over their work23825747542
They are increasingly accountable799620195
Too big a gap separates what they have been trained for and what they have to do13214438314
They are left picking up the pieces in a society that has lost ways of coping with pain, sickness, and death27320244519
Their close contact with patients has been disrupted486722137
Patients are too demanding13114217290
Modern medicine promises more than it can deliver16815731356
Politicians are stoking patients' expectations28113525441
Media coverage of doctors is too negative26815740465
The health service is falling apart25913641436

View the results of previous bmj.com questionnaires