Retired members

New horizons

Retirement is the start of another chapter of one’s life; not the end of the old one. It brings many opportunities to redirect one’s energies and interests in new directions, to take on new roles, or to continue previous interests. For many doctors it is a gradual process which can develop at whatever pace one chooses, not a moment in time. In common use, ‘retire’ means the moment when you start to take a pension, but there’s no reason at all why you should stop all professional activity then (unless, of course, that’s what you want to do).


There are lots of valuable and rewarding roles for senior psychiatrists who have built up a lifetime’s experience and have great skill and knowledge in their field. Many retired psychiatrists return to work in their own or other NHS trusts, or in the independent/private sector, possibly part-time, and possibly in new roles. The tribunal service, CQC, and the GMC have great need of experienced doctors to work with them in a wide range of capacities. One particularly urgent current need is for more second opinion appointed doctors (SOADs).

If you are considering retirement there are preretirement courses that you may find useful. The College runs these on a regular basis as do many Trusts and the BMA.

Outside the statutory agencies, retired doctors have an enormous range of choices. Some work with charities. Some work overseas. Some continue writing or teaching. Some develop or continue their medicolegal skills and provide second opinions or work as expert witnesses.

We hope that when you do retire you will remain involved with the College. Retired members may be eligible for a discount to membership fees. Please contact for details. After 40 years of membership you will receive lifetime free membership.

Of course, many retired doctors feel that they have spent long enough working as a doctor and want to fill their time with completely different things. These pages may not be of much help if this is you, but we wish you well in whatever you do!

See below for more information on each area:

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry