Table 3

Numbers and percentages of doctors who gave each specialty as their first choice of long-term career: UK medical graduates of 2015, 2012, 2009, 2008 and 2005 surveyed 1 year after graduation: detailed specialty breakdown

Grouped/individual specialtyGraduation year (Numbers)Graduation year (%)
2005, 2008 and 2009 (N=8537)2012 (N=2313)2015 (N=3040)2005, 2008 and 2009 (N=8537)2012 (N=2313)2015 (N=3040)
General practice 2669 694 844 31.3 30.0 27.8
Hospital medical specialties 2266 626 805 26.5 27.1 26.5
 Cardiology28577713.33.32.3
 Chest medicine18845522.21.91.7
 Clinical pharmacology9110.1<0.1<0.1
 Dermatology12543591.51.91.9
 Endocrinology7515230.90.60.8
 Gastroenterology18452562.22.21.8
 General medicine7471652578.87.18.5
 Genitourinary medicine4624260.51.00.9
 Geriatrics13473941.63.23.1
 Infectious diseases11229391.31.31.3
 Nephrology7626340.91.11.1
 Neurology14029361.61.31.2
 Occupational medicine123<0.10.10.1
 Rheumatology/Rehabilitation7729330.91.31.1
 Tropical medicine26760.30.30.2
Surgery 1573 358 492 18.4 15.5 16.2
 Cardiac surgery198180.20.30.6
 Ear, nose and throat11735471.41.51.5
 General surgery517751676.13.25.5
 Neurosurgery8621231.00.90.8
 Ophthalmology13838711.61.62.3
 Oral and maxillofacial surgery4512160.50.50.5
 Trauma and orthopaedic surgery32376953.83.33.1
 Paediatric surgery5516140.60.70.5
 Plastic surgery16340361.91.71.2
 Urology6419210.70.80.7
 Vascular surgery39790.50.30.3
Anaesthesia 1063 301 480 12.5 13.0 15.8
 Anaesthesia7462123678.79.212.1
 Intensive care/anaesthesia3491141464.14.94.8
Paediatrics 786 216 261 9.2 9.3 8.6
Emergency medicine 411 105 171 4.8 4.5 5.6
Psychiatry 331 95 165 3.9 4.1 5.4
 Child/adolescent psychiatry33430.40.20.1
 Forensic psychiatry17610.20.3<0.1
 General psychiatry272841603.23.65.3
 Learning disabilities200<0.10.00.0
 Psychogeriatrics10000.10.00.0
 Psychotherapy5200.10.10.0
Obstetrics and gynaecology 501 127 164 5.9 5.5 5.4
Pathology 228 67 97 2.7 2.9 3.2
 Forensic medicine16050.20.00.2
 General pathology22480.30.20.3
 Genetics251090.30.40.3
 Haematology10135461.21.51.5
 Histopathology277120.30.30.4
 Immunology7370.10.10.2
 Microbiology368120.40.30.4
Radiology 180 57 92 2.1 2.5 3.0
Radiotherapy and oncology 182 58 78 2.1 2.5 2.6
Public health 83 29 28 1.0 1.3 0.9
Community health 10 6 9 0.1 0.3 0.3
 Family planning8680.10.30.3
 General Community health201<0.10.0<0.1
Other medical specialties 72 13 21 0.8 0.6 0.7
Not stated 18 88 105 0.2 3.8 3.5
Non-medical 65 16 44 0.8 0.7 1.4
  • Notes: The grouped specialty total in bold may be lower than the total of each individual specialty belonging to that group: if a respondent gave ‘Anaesthetics’ as their tied first choice with ‘Intensive care/anaesthesia’, this would only result in one count at the grouped specialty level.

  • Linear trend statistics across the cohorts: general practice (χ2 1=12.9, P<0.001), hospital medical specialties (χ2 1=0.0, P=0.961), surgery (χ2 1=11.0, P<0.001), anaesthesia (χ2 1=19.9, P<0.001), paediatrics (χ2 1=0.8, P=0.367), emergency medicine (χ2 1=2.3, P=0.129), psychiatry (χ2 1=12.0, P<0.001), obstetrics and gynaecology (χ2 1=1.1, P=0.295), pathology (χ2 1=2.3, P=0.133), radiology (χ2 1=8.2, P=0.004), radiotherapy and oncology (χ2 1=2.3, P=0.132), public health (χ2 1=0.0, P=0.967), community health (χ2 1=4.7, P=0.030), other medical specialties (χ2 1=1.2, P=0.283), not stated (χ2 1=206.7, P<0.001) and non-medical (χ2 1=9.7, P=0.002).