The impact of general practitioner morale on patient satisfaction with care: a cross-sectional study

Brian McKinstry, Jeremy Walker, Mike Porter, Colette Fulton, Ashley Tait, Janet Hanley, Stewart Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The association between stress and morale among general practitioners (GP) is well documented. However, the impact of GP stress or low morale on patient care is less clear. GPs in the UK now routinely survey patients about the quality of their care including organizational issues and consultation skills and the General Practice Assessment Questionnaire (GPAQ) is widely used for this purpose. We aimed to see if there was a relationship between doctor morale as measured by a validated instrument, the Morale Assessment in General Practice Index (MAGPI) and scores in the GPAQ.


All GPs in Lothian, Scotland who were collecting GPAQ data were approached and asked to complete the MAGPI. Using an anonymised linkage system, individual scores on the MAGPI were linked to the doctors' GPAQ scores. Levels of association between the scores were determined by calculating rank correlations at the level of the individual doctor. Hypothesised associations between individual MAGPI and GPAQ items were also assessed.


276 of 475 GPs who were approached agreed to complete a MAGPI questionnaire and successfully collected anonymous GPAQ data from an average of 49.6 patients. There was no significant correlation between the total MAGPI score and the GPAQ communication or enablement scale. There were weak correlations between "control of work" in the MAGPI scale and GPAQ items on waiting times to see doctors (r = 0.24 p < 0.01). Doctors who perceived that their patients viewed them negatively also scored lower on individual communication, accessibility and continuity of care GPAQ items.


This study showed no relationship between overall GP morale and patient perception of performance. There was a weak relationship between patients' perceptions ofquality and doctors' beliefs about their workload and whether patients value them. Further research is required to elucidate the complex relationship between workload, morale and patients' perception of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57
JournalBMC Family Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morale
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Questionnaires
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Scotland
  • Self-Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Workload


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