Older doctors are not immune to burnout and wellbeing crisis, new Dundee University report shows

Responding to findings in a new report by the University of Dundee that half of all hospital doctors aged 50 and over in Scotland’s hospitals plan to retire before normal pension age,

Dr Naeem Nazem of the medical defence organisation MDDUS said: “These are worrying figures that prove older doctors are not immune to the threat of professional burnout.

“The report also reflects the findings of our own surveys which repeatedly show that around half of all healthcare professionals are considering leaving their profession, many well before retirement age.

“Of the multiple concerning findings in the University of Dundee report, I find it acutely worrying that ‘organisational disillusionment’ has led to so many doctors aged over 50 reporting they feel less engaged with their job and the sense of purpose that led them into medicine in the first place.

“MDDUS supports doctors throughout their whole career, including if they are subject to a complaint or other proceedings.

“We know that reduced meaningfulness associated with clinical work is a key factor leading to medical errors and can also have implications over time on doctors’ commitment to their patients.

“Burnout can happen in any occupation, but it is a particularly difficult issue when it affects doctors who can feel a loss of self-identity and a reduced sense of accomplishment.

“The findings of this report should be taken seriously by the Scottish government and factored into their post-pandemic workforce planning for the NHS.”



Dr Naeem Nazem is head of medical division at MDDUS.

The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.

For further information, please contact Alison Hardie, head of strategic communications and public affairs, on ahardie@mddus.com or on 07501 421398

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