Doctors could be made to retire at a specific given age under a new ruling set out by the Supreme Court, the highest court of appeal in the UK.
This means GP practices might have the power to enforce an age at which doctors must retire. But lawyers have cautioned they would need to provide good grounds for their reasoning before the policy could be enacted.
Supreme Court judges made the landmark ruling after hearing the Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes case, where a solicitor company made one of its employees retire when they reached 65, in honour of a partnership agreement signed between the two parties. The staff member wanted to continue working beyond the retirement age.
But the judges decided that a mandatory retirement age in collaboration contracts "can be justified" as it is based upon "principles of dignity".
The NHS believes the ruling could have an impact on many GPs who choose to carry on working after the retirement age. Data from the NHS Information Centre reveals there are 955 GPs aged 65 to 69 years old, and 406 GPs who are 70 and above who are currently working.