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Which Specialties Make The Happiest Doctors?

******UPDATE: This is now outdated. Click here to see the latest version *******


For every doctor, choosing which specialty to do is one of the biggest, and hardest, decisions we make. Often this decision is based off hearsay, and snatched conversations from older peers, with very little evidence-based decision making in the process. This can inevitably lead to making the wrong choices. 


In this blog we explore which specialities are rated highest for overall satisfaction and workload, based on the ratings given by doctors from across the country for all specialties at Core and Specialty grade in GMC 2016 Survey.


Of course, this decision is nuanced and involves a number of personal factors, but we hope that this snapshot will provide an interesting and thought-provoking overview to kick start your research and analysis.


Here are the results of our number crunching:

Overall Satisfaction and Workload GMC 2016 Survey
Notes: We have only included specialties which offered rotations at over 60 hospitals across the UK in 2016. Other sites have been excluded. Data is sourced from the GMC National Training Survey 2016. Please head to to access the source data in full and read a full explanation of the methodology used by the GMC.


Key takeaways:


1) General Practice stands out for satisfaction


It may not come as a surprise to many but General Practice leads the way for the most satisfied doctors in the UK. They also tend to rate their workload as amongst the most manageable, although there is significant regional & practice variation in this. These findings are also in keeping with the results from the 2015 survey.


2) Radiology, Ophthalmology and Anaesthetics are the best hospital specialities


Many of you will have heard of the ROAD Acronym for lifestyle specialities. Our data suggests that not only are they a great lifestyle choice, but their satisfaction ratings amongst doctors are also the highest. It’s particularly worth noting that Radiology rates as the speciality with the most manageable workload.


At the other end of the spectrum, Acute Medicine, Emergency Medicine and the Core Medical Specialities have some the worst satisfaction and workload ratings across the board. This correlates very closely with ratings at Foundation Programme level too.


3) There is a very close correlation with workload and overall satisfaction


It’s clear from our analysis that doctors who are most satisfied with their specialities tend be the ones with the most manageable workload. This suggests that picking specialities with a better work-life balance would be a wise choice.


4)  This is only part of the picture – our Training Navigator will tell you more.


The figures in this blog are blended for all regions, and there will be variation between different regions and different grades. Our Training Navigator will help you deep dive into the quality of training, clinical supervision and workload at specific rotations within these regions. These are the most comprehensive and up-to-date ratings for individual NHS hospital rotations, with five star ratings based on the results of the 2016 GMC National Training Survey.

Learn More:

1) Read more about our mission to help doctors make evidence-based career choices.

2) Get started with our Training Navigator to dive deeper with into ratings across the country.

3) Have you worked at any of these hospitals? Leave a review of your rotation to help other doctors chose theirs.

4) Keep up-to-date with the latest evidence-based views on medical careers by following us on Facebook and Twitter

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