What is putting GPs off leadership roles and what can be done about it?

Written by: Prospect Health
Published on: 2 Aug 2016

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Prospect Health takes a look at what is stopping the NHS growing the medical leaders of the future and how the issue can be tackled.

Attracting GPs to take up leadership roles in the NHS is proving to be a challenge. Unlike many other sectors, it’s not simply a case of providing the right training and development or identifying suitable opportunities. 

A recent survey by Hay Group identified a multitude of critical factors that are deterring GPs from taking on leadership roles. These issues need to be acknowledged before the wider problem can be addressed effectively.

Hay survey

Recent survey by Hay Group identified a range of factors deterring GPs from taking leadership roles


GPs have very little time

Over half of the GP respondents said that if they were to take up leadership roles, the demands on their time would mean they would have to frequently sacrifice their external interests. This threat to their already stretched work/life balance is putting many GPs off.

Managing a leadership role, along with their usual GP duties, is a fine balance, so practitioners need more flexibility in their roles in order to achieve this balance and feel that a leadership position would be manageable for them.

Many GPs don’t trust management

Almost half of the respondents said they don’t trust management and over a third said their relationship with management is poor. Trust needs to be a two-way process, as the senior team needs to trust and support doctors in order to develop their leadership skills.

Lack of resources to get the job done

A critical factor for over half of the GP respondents was the perception that they would not have enough resources to do their job. There needs to be more clarity over what resources are available and clearer expectations set over what can realistically be achieved.

Lack of financial reward

Nearly one in three respondents said they do not feel they would be sufficiently rewarded in a leadership role. Many GPs are questioning the status given to leadership roles and the pay associated with them. In order to overcome this barrier, GPs need to feel more valued and reassured of the rewards they would gain from a leadership position.

Read Prospect Health's original blog post: What is stopping the NHS system growing the medical leaders of the future?

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