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News BMJ Investigation

Doctors’ early retirement has trebled since 2008

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 24 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1594
  1. Tom Moberly, UK editor
  1. The BMJ
  1. tmoberly{at}

The number of doctors taking early retirement from the NHS has more than trebled over the past 13 years, official figures show. In 2020-21 1358 GPs and hospital doctors in England and Wales took voluntary early retirement or retired because of ill health, up from 401 in 2007-08 (fig 1).

Fig 1

Doctors taking early retirement from NHS in England and Wales

Overall, the total number of doctors retiring rose by 21% over this period, from 2431 in 2007-08 to 2952 in 2020-21. The total number of doctors employed by the NHS in England and Wales rose by 25% over this period, from 141 000 to 176 000.

The figures were provided to The BMJ by the NHS Business Services Authority in response to a freedom of information …

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