How part-time working and support with on-call helped this consultant work longer
“I worked as a Consultant in the NHS for 25 years. I planned to retire at the age of 60. However, due to the management team being unable to advertise for my successor in time I retired six months later than originally planned.
"In the last decade of my NHS career I worked maximum part-time (nine sessions) and took part in different roles including teaching and chairing the department I was working in. In my final year before retirement, I became part-time and stopped being on-call. However, I continued to carry out all the other work I had been involved in. My department had appointed a long-term locum and he covered the on-call duties.
"Once retired from the NHS, I continued to participate in my department's teaching sessions until removed from the medical register."
How reductions in clinical commitments helped this GP partner continue to work
"I am a GP and last year I left the practice where I had been a partner for 30 years. I had always planned to retire from my practice at the age of 55 due to the fact that my job was highly pressurised, and I thought this was a reasonable aim for my own wellbeing and made my financial plans accordingly. However, when it came to it, I took the opportunity to instead, at 53, reduce my clinical commitments to the practice. This has made continuing until 59 sustainable.
"In my later years my stamina was not the same. I began to find it harder to draw on the necessary reserves of emotional energy to give top class engagement to all my patients. On the other hand, I had also reached a level of skill and insight where I could try different consultation styles and put more truly into practice shared decision making. Without the opportunity to reduce my hours in the practice I would undoubtedly have left the practice before 59.
"I remain on the Performers List as a GP and I would like to continue to be active locally for example, in helping service design/ commissioning and teaching medical students. Now I am nearly a year out of clinical practice I do not think I will return to the workforce, sadly many opportunities to work in local health service development or teaching require applicants to be currently engaged in clinical work."
How pension rules and inflexible working arrangements led this consultant to retire early
"I am a consultant and retired from my previous trust a couple of years ago. I was struggling to work full-time and found that there were no opportunities for part-time working available, although I tried my best to find one. I retired earlier than I had planned from this trust because of pension rules. Following my retirement, I gained a part-time position at another trust where I was able to work two days a week.
"In addition to my two days a week I contribute to the NHS by undertaking work in my own time some of which is unpaid. Below are some examples:
- teaching and examining medical students and teaching GP trainees;
- writing for medical textbooks;
- drafting research papers for universities.
"Now that I am working two days a week I have a much better quality of life. Despite my many years of hard full-time work at my previous trust there was no support for part-time working and I was made to feel a nuisance for asking for the opportunity to stay on part-time after retirement. I was delighted to be offered this elsewhere and my new workplace have made me very welcome.
"I would have benefited from further support from my employer in finding a part-time position at the trust I was working at. I also attended a retirement workshop and felt that they should incorporate a tailored session to women doctors as well."