A growing interest in public health and a dissatisfaction with general practice led Steve Hajioff to make a major career change in his 30s.

Dr Hajioff, who spent two years lecturing in general practice after completing his vocational training, is now a specialist registrar in public health with South Essex health authority.

'I saw the writing on the wall for general practice. I believe the freedom to work independently as a GP is going,' says Dr Hajioff.

'At the time, out-of-hours work was an issue - although it is less so now. Had co-ops been around when I was there, I might have stayed.

'Partnership was also an issue. You are talking about what is almost a marriage between half-a-dozen people. You are tying your financial and workplace security to a group of people you barely know.

'Previous generations were happy to define themselves by their career but the current generation defines itself by its lifestyle. I have found work which is more lifestyle-friendly and is still interesting for me.'