‘Red tape’ stopped more than two-thirds of doctors in the UK from making changes or improvements over the last year.
The same number (67%) said lack of capacity and support stopped them from improving their service.
Close to 1,000 doctors responded to the British Medical Assocation (BMA) survey, painting a picture of financial constraints and bureaucracy.
With the financial pressures affecting NHS budgets, the vast majority of doctors (81%) describe work pressures as high or very high with the top pressure being meeting patient activity levels.
GPs are most likely (89%) to report very high or high levels of pressure.
BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter said: “Instead of directing the blame towards individual parts of the health service when the NHS comes under pressure, we need the Government to work with staff, who see the pressures first hand, to help solve the problems.
“Doctors should be encouraged and supported, not burnt out and drowning in red tape.”
Greater integration between health and social care has been touted to keep the NHS running for the next 65 years by 48% of doctors.
Better management of activity (44%), and redesign and reconfiguration of hospital services (30.1%) would help the NHS to continue, other doctors believe.
Dr Porter said: “If the NHS is to survive another 65 years there must be a clear recognition that we are reaching boiling point with patient demand. “There must also be a greater focus on integrating health and social care, rather than the continuing obsession of having a competitive market in health.”