The work hours of GPs: survey of English GPs

Hugh Gravelle, Arne Risa Hole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



There is no current information about the hours worked by English GPs.


To compare the reported hours worked by GPs with that of other professions and to explain the variation in GP hours worked and on call.

Design of study

National postal survey of 1871 GPs in February 2004.


English general practice.


Multiple regression analyses of part-time versus full-time status, hours worked, and hours on call.


Full-time male GPs report more hours worked (49.6; 95% Cl [confidence interval] = 48.9 to 50.2) than males in other professional occupations (47.9; 95% Cl = 47.6 to 48.1) and male managers (49.1; 95% Cl = 48.8 to 49.5). Full-time female GPs report fewer hours (43.2; 95% Cl = 42.0 to 44.3) than females in other professional occupations (44.7; 95% Cl = 44.4 to 45.0) and female managers (44.1; 95% Cl = 43.7 to 44.5). The number of hours worked decreased with practice list size, and increased with the number of patients per GP. GPs work longer hours in practices with older patients and with a higher proportion of patients in nursing homes. Fewer hours are worked in practices with higher 'additional needs' payments. Having children under 18 years of age increased the probability that female GPs work part-time but has no effect on the probability of male GPs working part-time. Given full-time/part-time status, having children under 18 years of age reduces the hours of male and female GPs.


Male English GPs report longer hours worked than other professional groups and managers. The sex differences between GPs in hours worked are mostly attributable to the differential impact of family circumstances, particularly the number of children they have. Perversely, 'additional needs' payments are higher in practices where GPs work fewer hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number535
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • family
  • physicians
  • workload

Cite this