Aim: To assess the workload of general practitioners (GPs) in Austria, with a focus on identifying the differences between GPs working in urban and rural areas. Methods: Within the framework of the Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe (QUALICOPC) study, data were collected from a stratified sample of GPs using a standardized questionnaire between November 2011 and May 2012. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and regression analysis. Results: The analysis included data from 173 GPs. GPs in rural areas reported an average of 49.3 working hours per week, plus 23.7 on-call duties per 3 months and 26.2 outof-office care services per week. Compared to GPs working in urban areas, even in the fully adjusted regression model, rural GPs had significantly more working hours (B 7.00; P = 0.002) and on-call duties (B 18.91; P < 0.001). 65.8% of all GPs perceived their level of stress as high and 84.6% felt they were required to do unnecessary administrative work. Conclusion: Our findings show a high workload among Austrian GPs, particularly those working in rural areas. Since physicians show a diminishing interest to work as GPs, there is an imperative to improve this situation.
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