47% of physicians plan to hasten retirement

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In response to the challenges of modern medicine, from overextension to low morale to burnout, almost half of physicians — 46.8 percent — say they plan to retire sooner than planned, according to a recent survey of more than 17,000 U.S. physicians conducted by the Physicians Foundation.

Most respondents — 80 percent — reported being at capacity and unable to take on additional patients, 62.8 percent reported pessimism about the future of medicine and 48 percent reported feeling burnout often or always. This has spurred more than half of physicians surveyed to consider cutting hours, retiring earlier, taking on non-clinical work or switching to "concierge medicine," according to the survey.

"Many physicians are dissatisfied with the current state of medical practice and are starting to opt out of traditional patient care roles," Walker Ray, MD, president of the Physicians Foundation and chair of its research committee, said in a statement. "By retiring, taking non-clinical roles or cutting back in various other ways, physicians are essentially voting with their feet and leaving the clinical workforce. This trend is to the detriment of patient access. It is imperative that all healthcare stakeholders recognize and begin to address these issues more proactively, to support physicians and enhance the medical practice environment."

The Physicians Foundation suggests if physicians do take action and leave the workforce, it will leave a hole tens of thousands of providers deep.

 

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