Only a quarter of physicians feel valued by employer, survey finds

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  15 Aug 2017

In April the Royal College of Physicians asked consultant physicians about their wellbeing. It surveyed a third (4747) of substantive consultant physicians working in the UK and received responses from 1454 (30% response rate).[1]

  • Just over three quarters (78%) of consultant physicians said that, for more than half of the time, they felt valued by patients, and 70% felt valued by colleagues and staff. But just 26% felt valued by the hospital they worked for, and among female consultants this proportion fell to 20%.

  • Only a third (35%) of respondents said that they felt fulfilled more than 50% of the time. Just over a third (39%) said that their working lives would be improved by having annualised hours (working a set number of hours a year, but with varying weekly hours), and 33% said that they wanted a sabbatical. The college said that if working patterns were altered to create seven day working then such flexible working could be incorporated.

  • Half (52%) of respondents said that their perfect job plan would include more research. Two fifths (41%) said that their dream job would include more teaching, and 47% said that they would like to spend more time with patients.

  • The most popular age for retirement was between 60 and 64. When asked what their personal drivers to retirement would be, respondents most commonly cited personal life (70%), the pressure of work (52%), increased stress (49%), and pension arrangements (43%). They also cited uncertainty about the future of the NHS (31%) as a reason for retiring.

  • When asked what they would like to have said about them when they retired, most respondents said that they would like to be known for making a difference. Over half (57%) said that they wanted to be seen as a hard worker or a good doctor, and 34% wanted to be noted for having made a difference in a patient centred way.


  1. Royal College of Physicians. Consultant physician wellbeing survey 2017. Jul 2017. [Link] .

Abi Rimmer The BMJ

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: