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Cut work hours and bureaucracy if NHS trusts want to retain older doctors

NHS employers should optimise the clinical contribution of older doctors while offering to reduce their working hours, if they want to retain them.

This is the key finding of research by a team from Oxford University, which examined attitudes to retirement among late-career doctors.

When older doctors were asked what would encourage them to stay in medicine for longer, the top responses were ‘reduced impact of work-related bureaucracy’ (45%) and ‘workload reduction/shorter hours’ (42%).

The research team sent questionnaires to all 3,695 medical graduates of 1974 and 1977 in the UK, and had a response rate of 85%. By 2014, 55% of respondents were still working in medicine (61% of men and 43% of women).

Among those who had retired, 28% retired earlier than planned. This decision was made to have increased time for leisure/other interests, or because of pressure of work, the research in BMJ Open reveals.

Twice as many women as men (21% versus 11%) retired for family reasons, and women were much more likely than men (27% vs 9%) to retire because of the retirement of their spouse.

GPs were more likely to cite ‘pressure of work’ than doctors in other specialties, and radiologists, surgeons, obstetricians and gynaecologists, and anaesthetists were most likely to cite ‘not wanting to do out-of-hours work’.

The authors conclude: “If the male-female differences in the likelihood of early retirement become evident in younger generations of doctors, these may become an important source of future attrition from the medical workforce overall.

“Retention policy should address ways of optimising the clinical contribution of senior doctors while offering reduced workloads in the areas of bureaucracy and working hours, particularly in respect of emergency commitments.”

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2 Responses to “Cut work hours and bureaucracy if NHS trusts want to retain older doctors”

  1. Radman says:

    It’s pretty clear that one of the greatest issues regarding work related bureaucracy leading to earlier retirement is ‘revalidation’. Get rid of this and you will find plenty of experienced and demonstrably safe doctors willing to soldier on longer.

  2. danmac says:

    Didn’t quite a few doctors start retiring because Osbourne reduced the lifetime rate for pensions to a million?
    A cynical view I know but……..

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