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British doctors’ work–life balance and home-life satisfaction: a cross-sectional study
  1. Swati Parida1,2,
  2. Abdullah Aamir2,
  3. Jahangir Alom3,
  4. Tania A Rufai4,
  5. Sohaib R Rufai2,5
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Lincoln County Hospital, Lincoln, UK
  2. 2University of Leicester Ulverscroft Eye Unit, Leicester Royal Infirmaty, Leicester, UK
  3. 3Emergency Department, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Memorial Medical Centre, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Gillingham, UK
  5. 5Clinical and Academic Department of Ophthalmology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sohaib R Rufai, Ulverscroft Eye Unit, University of Leicester, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK; sohaib.rufai{at}


Purpose To assess British doctors’ work–life balance, home-life satisfaction and associated barriers.

Study design We designed an online survey using Google Forms and distributed this via a closed social media group with 7031 members, exclusively run for British doctors. No identifiable data were collected and all respondents provided consent for their responses to be used anonymously. The questions covered demographic data followed by exploration of work–life balance and home-life satisfaction across a broad range of domains, including barriers thereto. Thematic analysis was performed for free-text responses.

Results 417 doctors completed the survey (response rate: 6%, typical for online surveys). Only 26% reported a satisfactory work–life balance; 70% of all respondents reported their work negatively affected their relationships and 87% reported their work negatively affected their hobbies. A significant proportion of respondents reported delaying major life events due to their working patterns: 52% delaying buying a home, 40% delaying marriage and 64% delaying having children. Female doctors were most likely to enter less-than-full-time working or leave their specialty. Thematic analysis revealed seven key themes from free-text responses: unsocial working, rota issues, training issues, less-than-full-time working, location, leave and childcare.

Conclusions This study highlights the barriers to work–life balance and home-life satisfaction among British doctors, including strains on relationships and hobbies, leading to many doctors delaying certain milestones or opting to leave their training position altogether. It is imperative to address these issues to improve the well-being of British doctors and improve retention of the current workforce.

  • education and training
  • health economics
  • health services administration & management
  • human resource management
  • medical education & training

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  • SP and AA are joint first authors.

  • Contributors AA: concept, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing. SP: concept, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing, submitted the study. JA: data collection, critical revision. TAR: data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing. SRR: concept, data collection, data analysis, critical revision, supervision, guarantor.

  • Funding SRR is funded by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Fellowship.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.