44% of doctors wouldn’t recommend their profession to others, says new research. Increasing cost of education and lack of financial incentives will put off future generations
As a new intake of doctors prepares to start work this week, new research from Wesleyan, the specialist financial services provider for doctors, reveals that an increasing number of those already working in the profession would not recommend their career to family members and friends.
In sharp contrast to findings a year ago, 44% of doctors said they would not recommend their profession, compared with 30% in 2014.
However doctors are still more likely to recommend their career than other professionals. Wesleyan’s research highlights that over half (55%) of teachers would not recommend a career in the classroom while 50% of dentists and 48% of lawyers take the same view of their own profession.
The number of doctors who would not choose the same career if they could start again has also risen to a third (33%) compared with 25% in 2014. Increased workload and stress were cited as the main factors for this.
More than nine out of ten (95%) doctors said increased pressure caused by ongoing changes in the profession was a major cause of concern, with more than half (56%) of those saying they felt permanently under pressure.
When asked what they were most concerned about over the next five years, NHS funding emerged as the biggest worry for more than half (51%). Changes to the NHS Pension Scheme and the possible privatisation of the NHS were also highlighted as major issues by just under two fifths (39%) while 13% raised concerns over consolidation of services in the NHS.
Three quarters of doctors felt that the increasing cost of education and training, along with changes to pay and conditions, will mean future generations will be put off entering the profession.
Mr Martin Bircher, a Consultant Orthopaedic surgeon and Member of Wesleyan’s Advisory Board, said: “The planned changes to the NHS, such as the new NHS 7-day service contracts for both Hospital Doctors and GPs, do have some merits in terms of the potential to improve patient care. However, there will inevitably be significant resource issues and they appear unlikely to ease the already heavy demands placed on medical professionals.
“Despite these challenges, being a doctor remains a hugely rewarding profession. A desire to care for others is what makes people want to become a doctor and being able to put this into practice every day is a privilege. That is why the majority of doctors in this survey say they would choose the same career again if they were at the beginning of their professional life.”
Alan Whiting, Wesleyan Group Head of Marketing, said: “Our medical customers tell us that they are facing huge change in their professional lives, which is causing them uncertainty and stress, and this is supported by this new research.
“Doctors are also being hit financially; they have seen a drop in income in real terms as pay rises fail to keep pace with inflation. In addition, changes to the NHS Pension Scheme mean they are paying more to retire later and on less income. Then there are the pension tax changes which are hitting doctors at the latter stages of their career.
“While the majority say they would become doctors again and would recommend it to others, the fact more have become disaffected shows the profession could become less attractive to new entrants.
“As a specialist provider of financial advice for doctors, Wesleyan can help them plan their finances and make the most of their money. We also understand the wider professional issues that can impact their career path and their future earning income.”
Wesleyan is a mutual financial services provider for medical professionals.