Is there a right time to jump?

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Should I stay or should I go? Dr Benjamin Holdsworth on why more doctors are choosing to leave medicine early.

It comes as no surprise that recent BMJ figures show a steep rise in the number of doctors retiring early.

Medical colleagues at the top of the profession tell us that medicine has changed beyond recognition – not always for the better.

The happy tales of technological breakthroughs and unprecedented advances in healthcare cannot counter the increasing red tape, rising debt and constant attacks on salaries, pensions and taxation that doctors face.

In the office, we have witnessed a steady increase in clients choosing to retire ahead of time – keen to enjoy their hard-earned wealth at the optimum moment. If part of the NHS pension’s 1995 section, doctors can take retirement from as early as 50 in exchange for reduced benefits.

However, not many choose to quit medicine completely overnight. The preferred option is either a steady reduction of hours while retaining some level of medical practice (wind down) or reduced responsibility or workload (step down). Others are opting to ‘retire and return’.

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