Hospital doctors in England and Wales are increasingly choosing to take early retirement, figures released to The BMJ by the NHS Business Services Authority in response to a freedom of information request show.
The number of hospital doctors claiming their NHS pension on voluntary early retirement grounds increased from 164 in 2008 to 397 in 2018. The number retiring on ill health grounds rose from 12 to 79 over the same period.
The figures also show a greater proportion of doctors claiming their pensions now do so on health grounds or are taking voluntary early retirement.
For example, in 2008, 14% of hospital doctors claiming their NHS pension took voluntary early retirement; in 2018, 27% of doctors did so. In 2008, 1% of retirements were on grounds of ill health; in 2018, 5% were.
The total number of hospital doctors choosing to take their pension (whether on grounds of age, voluntary early retirement, or ill health) rose from 1,205 in 2008 to 1,475 in 2018, representing a 22% increase over this period.
The total number of hospital doctors working in the NHS rose by 21% over the same period, and the proportion of doctors choosing to retire was 1.25% in 2008 and 1.27% in 2018.
Earlier this year, The BMJ reported on figures from the NHS Business Services Authority showing that GPs are also increasingly choosing to take early retirement
The number of GPs claiming their NHS pension on voluntary early retirement grounds increased from 198 in 2007-08 to 721 in 2016-17, and the number retiring on ill health grounds rose from 12 to 63 over the same period. Over the same period, the number retiring on age grounds fell from 944 in 2007-08 to 380 in 2016-17.
Explore further: Sharp rise in consultants opting for early retirement as dissatisfaction with the NHS grows
More information: Careers: More hospital doctors are opting to retire early, www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3744
GP research: www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1367