Updated Later Careers Guidance

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (“the College”), the Royal College of Physicians of London, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow have together updated their 2018 Later Careers guidance.

The updated guidance draws on new data from a survey of doctors aged 50 and over carried out by all three colleges in 2023.

The recommendations set out in the guidance include:

  • making flexible or part‐time working options available to senior doctors.
  • embedding time for teaching when job planning with senior doctors.
  • allowing consultants from the age of 60 a consultant to opt into on‐call only if they wish to.
  • ensuring the appraisal of senior doctors is sensitive and proportionate to their working arrangements.
  • enabling employers to consider whether a requirement of a full license to practice is needed to continue to work in a teaching/ examining role in their institution.
  • making sure team job planning is done as a department to ensure roles are complementary.

The College is very clear that senior doctors are of immense value to the NHS and that retaining more of these doctors is of critical importance to addressing the significant challenges across NHS services.

With more than one in three senior consultant physicians who are not yet retired indicating they wish to retire early, the potential for even greater workforce pressures at this level is of real concern. However, 58% of consultant physicians say they would delay retirement if they could work flexibly or reduce their hours, demonstrating the retention potential if a flexible approach is taken towards senior consultant physicians. The College will continue to promote this approach to governments and employers.


A copy of the new guidance is attached below. 

Further information: