[Approaches to reduce shortage of general practitioners in rural areas--results of an online survey of trainee doctors]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2011 Aug;136(34-35):1715-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1272576. Epub 2011 Aug 3.
[Article in German]


Background: In times of shortage of general practitioners (GPs), especially in rural areas, it is of particular interest to explore expectations and interests of GP trainees relating to their future work. The aim of this study was, to survey the willingness of trainee doctors to work in or open a general practice, as well as their expectations and plans concerning future work as a GP in a rural area.

Methods: The survey was conducted online between April to October 2010 with trainee doctors. The questionaire contained 25 questions about the trainees' sociodemographic status, expectations and conception of their future work, factors influencing setting up a GP practice and their ideas about working in a rural area.

Results: 528 trainee doctors from across Germany responded. More than half of them were female, more than 40% older than 35 years. 89% could image themselves settling in a GP practice, 77% in a rural area. The three most important factors influencing working in a rural practice were family friendly surrounding, the rural village itself and cooperation with colleagues. Most trainees would accepted having to travel 30 minutes to work.

Conclusion: As the basic willingness to set up practice in rural areas is quite high, relevant influencing factors such as family friendly surroundings, out-of-hour services arrangements und working models offering the opportunity to work in group handed practices should be emphasized in recruitment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Choice*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / trends
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • General Practice* / education
  • Germany
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Rural Population*
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce