Whether or not the incentive to be able to retire early from what your survey confirms to be an overworked and undervalued profession is ‘ perverse’ (Psychiatric Bulletin, April 2004, 28, 130-132) is a matter for debate. Nevertheless, many psychiatrists will undoubtedly have taken it into account when choosing their career. More to the point, many mental health officers (MHOs) will have made important financial planning decisions based upon a ‘guarantee by law’ (A guide to the National Health Service (NHS) pensions scheme, National Health Service Pensions Agency, 2001) that such an entitlement will remain in place. Given that there may be moves by the government to change the law and hence remove such a guarantee, do the authors not consider it unwise to describe what many consider to be one of the few ‘perks’ of psychiatry in such a way?
Given the substantial financial incentives of non-NHS work, have the authors not considered the potentially disastrous consequences for an already strained profession that the removal of MHO status might lead to?