Western Australian GP Retirement Intentions Study

Tom Brett, University of Notre Dame Australia
Diane Arnold-Reed, University of Notre Dame Australia
Robert Moorhead, University of Notre Dame Australia
Dana Hince, University of Notre Dame Australia
Ian K. Wood

Further information about this conference may be accessed here


Australian general practice is changing with increasing concentration of GPs in larger metropolitan practices and decreasing numbers of rural and solo practitioners. Quality of life issues with increased emphasis on work-life balance for younger GPs have progressively replaced the more traditional, holistic care approach of their older colleagues.

Retirement rates have a significant impact on general practice workforce numbers with Australia needing an additional 500 doctors entering general practice each year just to meet current demands.

There is little information on the retirement intentions of the current Australian GP workforce. Overseas research found decreasing job satisfaction the major contributor to GPs retiring early. It is hoped that the current study will provide information about potential shifts in Australian GP numbers and aid primary care medical workforce planning for the future.

General practitioners attached to four WA divisions were contacted by mail-out questionnaire - November 2007 to end of January 2008. Responses from GPs aged 45-65 years were included. The questionnaire was designed to collect information on factors impacting on their intentions to retire (eg age, current workload, obstacles to general practice) and also on what might encourage continuation in the workforce. A total of 478 surveys were mailed out. At the time of writing, a response rate of 57% had been received. Of those, 64% (n=174) were within the age range required. The findings from the research will be presented and implications from the study will be discussed.