Journal scan

Doctors might delay retirement if work hours, red tape were cut

Taking steps to retain older medical staff would reduce turnover and could enhance patient safety, study authors argue

Reducing working hours and red tape might encourage doctors to delay retirement, a study suggests.

Picture: iStock

Early retirement of experienced doctors creates challenges for the healthcare workforce and may adversely affect patient safety, according to the study's authors.

University of Oxford researchers say one way to persuade older doctors to carry on working would be to reduce the impact of work-related bureaucracy.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, also found that older doctors are more likely to keep working if they are offered shorter working hours.

Leisure interests

Researchers surveyed UK medical graduates of 1974 and 1977, with 3,695 responding to a questionnaire on retirement plans. Among these, 55% were still working in medicine.

Of the retirees, 67% retired when they had originally planned to and 28% had changed their retirement plans.

Four in 10 or 43% cited pressure of work as a reason to retire while 50% cited increased time for leisure or other interests.

Doctors who were still working were asked what would encourage them to stay longer in medicine.

Researchers found that 45% would stay longer if bureaucracy was reduced while 42% said shorter working hours would persuade them to do so.

Smith F et al (2017) Factors influencing the decisions of senior UK doctors to retire or remain in medicine: national surveys of the UK-trained medical graduates of 1974 and 1977. BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017650





This article is for subscribers only