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Objective To report on the career intentions, three years after qualification, of 12 national cohorts of UK-trained doctors who qualified between 1974 and 2012, and, specifically, to compare recent UK medical graduates' intentions to work in medicine in the UK with earlier graduates. Design Questionnaire surveys of cohorts of UK medical graduates defined by year of graduation. Setting UK. Participants 30,272 UK medical graduates. Main outcome measures Stated level of intention to pursue a long-term career in medicine in the UK. Results The response rate was 62% (30,272/48,927). We examined responses to the question ' Apart from temporary visits abroad, do you intend to practise medicine in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future?' Of doctors from UK homes, 90% had specified that they would 'definitely or probably' practise medicine in the UK in the surveys of 1977-1986, 81% in 1996-2011 and 64% in 2015. Those who said that they would probably or definitely not practise medicine in the UK comprised 5% in 1977-1986, 8% in 1996-2011 and 15% in 2015. Most who were not definite about a future career in UK medicine indicated that they would wish to practise medicine outside the UK rather than to leave medicine. Conclusions The wish to remain in UK medical practice in the 2015 survey was unprecedentedly low in this unique series of 40 years of surveys.

Original publication




Journal article


J R Soc Med

Publication Date





493 - 500


Medical education, attrition from medicine, medical careers, Attitude of Health Personnel, Career Choice, Female, Humans, Intention, Job Satisfaction, Male, Physicians, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom