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UK GPs under mounting health pressures - new study reveals

GPs from across the UK are experiencing concerningly high levels of burnout, a new Loughborough University study has found.

Research revealed that over one-third (36%) of GPs surveyed reported burnout symptoms and almost 90% raised concerns of joints, bones, and muscle pain. Findings also showed that a large proportion of respondents stated they were experiencing low psychological wellbeing.

Published by the University’s Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour (CLiMB), the project followed reports that healthcare systems globally are under increasing strain.

Key drivers include declining wellbeing, poor staff retention, and growing pressure of general practice. The team cited recent research that reported over half of UK-based GPs are planning on leaving the profession in the next five years.

Researchers gathered data from over 400 members of the Royal College of General Practitioners and found that health concerns were less evident in GPs who spent less time in prolonged sitting, took more breaks in sitting, and who were more physically active.

Amanda Daley, Professor of Behavioural Medicine and Director of CLiMB, explained:“The negative effects of sedentary behaviour on our physical health are well documented and we know that physical activity is really important for boosting mental health.

“With increasing pressures on the NHS, we hope our findings help support the mental wellbeing of GPs to enable them to continue providing care and expertise to the public.”

The survey included questions on burnout, psychological wellbeing and musculoskeletal complaints, as well as questions asking about current participation in physical activity and time spent sedentary each day. 

Loughborough researchers have proposed recommendations following the findings, including the importance of remaining active alongside work commitments.

The study can be viewed in full by visiting:


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/134

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.