Four out of five consultant physicians working in the UK are planning to retire early due to long working hours, according to the Royal College of Physicians.
Its survey of more than 5,000 UK consultant physicians found that 78% intended to retire before the age of 65.
The college said that if all these individuals retired three years early, at the age of 62, it would be equivalent to losing between 1.5 and two physicians from every large hospital in the UK.
Consultants nearing the end of their careers were keen to stay on to do speciality work, management and postgraduate education, so they could pass on their knowledge and skills to future generations, the college said.
It said that by allowing consultants to concentrate on these areas, the NHS could prevent an “early exodus”, keep their valuable experience, and improve junior doctor training.