Owing to the large and increasing number of vacant consultant posts in psychiatry, and the suspicion that premature retirement was an important cause of this problem, a questionnaire was sent to all consultants who were believed to have retired from their National Health Service (NHS) posts before their 65th birthday during 1995 or 1996. One hundred and forty-two (82%) of 173 questionnaires were returned. Responses to these Indicated that disenchantment with some aspect of the previous Conservative Government's ‘NHS Reforms' was a more important reason for retirement than ill health, a wish to devote more time to other interests, or even bed closures. Increasing bureaucracy and paperwork was a key factor for many.
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