Intended for healthcare professionals

News

Doctors’ early retirement triples in a decade

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4360 (Published 21 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4360

Doctors’ early retirement relative to the increase in size of the medical register

I thank Tom Moberly for his article "Doctors’ early retirement triples in a decade" and his observation highlighting that the number of doctors who retired from 2007-08 to 2018-19 because of ill health increased from 386 to 1186 (207% rise). [1]

An important consideration omitted from Tom Moberly's article was the change in the size of the medical register over time. For example, if the size of the medical register were to have tripled between 2007-08 to 2018-19, this observation would be less valuable. However, using the General Medical Council's Data Explorer tool, it is possible to realise the size of the medical register has increased between 2007 and 2018 from 244,515 to 298,705 doctors respectively (22% rise). [2]

This means there has been a 185% (or 2.85 times) rise in real terms of the number of doctors choosing to retire early. By including the increase in size of the medical register over time, it increases the validity and accuracy of Tom Moberly's initial observation and strengthens the argument that UK doctors are facing a health crisis.

References:
1. Moberly T. Doctors’ early retirement triples in a decade. BMJ. 2019;365:l4360.
2. General Medical Council. The Medical Register Over Time [Internet]. Data Explorer. 2019 [cited 24 June 2019]. Available from: https://data.gmc-uk.org/gmcdata/home/

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 June 2019
Elliott W Sharp
Medical Student
Brighton & Sussex Medical School
Brighton & Sussex Medical School