Education And Debate

Career destinations in 1994 of United Kingdom medical graduates of 1983: results of a questionnaire survey

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 06 April 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:893
  1. Trevor W Lambert, statistician and study coordinatora,
  2. Michael J Goldacre, unit and study directora,
  3. James Parkhouse, study consultanta,
  4. Carol Edwards, research officera
  1. a Unit of Health Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Goldacre.
  • Accepted 16 January 1996

Cohort studies of doctors' career choices and career progression since the mid-1970s have shown important changes in the medical workforce, in specialist training, and in employment. Examples of these changes are the increasing proportion of women doctors and of doctors who wish to work part time, the emigration patterns of doctors, and the development of vocational training for general practice. Studies enable the effects of longer term changes to be assessed, and sometimes they inform current debate

The number of entrants to medical school in the United Kingdom is fixed by quota. The number of junior medical posts and their geographical distribution are also tightly regulated. Control is aimed at avoiding either overproduction or inadequate supply of doctors. With a planned medical workforce it is important to know about the career intentions and destinations of medical graduates.1 We report a follow up study of the qualifiers of 1983 from all medical schools in the United Kingdom. We record their employment 11 years after qualification, paying particular attention to doctors who were abroad, those who were in the United Kingdom but not in medicine, and those who were in the United Kingdom practising medicine outside the NHS.


In 1983-4 lists from the General Medical Council were used to identify the cohort of doctors who had qualified in the United Kingdom in 1983.1 Questionnaires were mailed to these doctors one, three, and 11 years after qualification. Structured questions covered career intentions, factors which influenced career choices, and posts held. Respondents were also invited to comment on any aspect of their career choice, training, and work experience.

Employment groups were defined to distinguish doctors who worked in the United Kingdom from those abroad, those working in the NHS from those in other medical employment in the United Kingdom, those working in …

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