Career destinations, views and future plans of the UK medical qualifiers of 1988.
Taylor K., Lambert T., Goldacre M.
OBJECTIVES: To report the career destinations, views and future plans of a cohort of senior doctors who qualified in the 1980s. METHODS: Postal questionnaire survey of all doctors who qualified from all UK medical schools in 1988. RESULTS: The response rate was 69%. We estimated that 81% of the total cohort was working in the NHS, 16 years after qualification; and that at least 94% of graduates who, when students, were from UK homes, were working in medicine. Of NHS doctors, 30% worked part-time. NHS doctors rated their job satisfaction highly (median score 19.9, scale 5-25) but were less satisfied with the amount of leisure time available to them (median score 5.4, scale 1-10). NHS doctors were very positive about their careers, but were less positive about working hours and some other aspects of the NHS. Women were more positive than men about working conditions; general practitioners were more positive than hospital doctors. Twenty-five percent reported unmet needs for further training or career-related advice, particularly about career development. Twenty-nine percent intended to reduce their hours in future, while 6%, mainly part-time women, planned to increase their hours. Overall, 10% of NHS doctors planned to do more service work in future and 24% planned to do less; among part-time women, 18% planned to do more and only 14% less. CONCLUSIONS: These NHS doctors, now in their 40s, had a high level of satisfaction with their jobs and their careers but were less satisfied with some other aspects of their working environment. A substantial percentage had expectations about future career development and change.