57% of doctors consider leaving NHS for private sector, study finds


More than half of doctors have considered leaving or have left the NHS to work in private healthcare following a "tough" year for the profession, a survey has found.

A total of 57% of doctors said they had thought about pursuing a career in private healthcare, according to the research from Wesleyan, the specialist financial services provider for doctors.

Professor Parveen Kumar, former president of the British Medical Association, said the figures showed the profession was "under pressure".

The survey come as thousands of junior doctors prepare to start their new jobs on Wednesday - a day known as "black Wednesday" in the past because of higher death rates among patients.

Three-quarters of doctors (78%) said they felt pressured as a result of recent changes to their profession, down from 95% in 2015.

Almost one in 10 (9%) said they planned to leave the profession for a new career, and 57% have considered leaving the UK or had already left to work abroad.

And 63% of doctors said they have considered or started locum work to ease some of the pressures of the job.

Prof Kumar said: "Our profession is under pressure. Make no mistake, this year has been tough for many doctors, and the research demonstrates the impact this has had on the longevity of a career in this profession.

"As we see a new line of doctors start work this week it's important to recognise the concerns of those who have been practising medicine for years - some of which can be eased with additional support."

Some 203 doctors were questioned for this year's survey, while 102 were surveyed last year.