07 Jun Think that a GP achieving work-life balance doesn’t exist? Think again…
Blog by Dr Jui Pandit, Highgate Medical Centre, Birmingham
A recent survey of UK and overseas doctors, by NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU (MLCSU), found that half would relocate if it meant they’d have a better lifestyle, could work flexibly and/or be closer to friends and family.
As a GP and a mum in Birmingham, I know the importance of being able to work flexibly to look after my family, as well as having time to do the things I want to do.
We are all aware of the pressures currently facing general practice, with some really great GPs leaving or not returning to the profession because they don’t feel they can achieve this work-life balance.
I found that work was taking over my life, even at weekends, because we open on Saturday mornings. I wasn’t enjoying my job and I wasn’t making the most of my time away from it either. I realised I needed to make a change.
I was able to take Fridays off to stop me from burning out, which made a dramatic difference to my home life and helped me to fall back in love with work too. My family life is better and I make the most of my time away from the surgery. I make every minute count.
Flexible working arrangements have become commonplace across our surgery, as we all look to strike a better balance between work and home life.
I know you’re probably thinking that you won’t be able to just take every Friday off. But there are initiatives and GP practices out there which are making a real effort to meet doctors’ needs.
My practice, Highgate Medical Centre in Birmingham, is part of an NHS England pilot called Different Practices, which is being delivered by MLCSU to support more than a dozen practices in the Midlands and East of England to recruit.
‘All practices are trying to recruit’, I hear you say. Well indeed, many practices are – but this pilot is exploring what GPs are really looking for when considering a new role.
MLCSU surveyed more than 140 doctors, both in the UK and abroad, to find out what practices should be offering. Part-time hours, flexibility, indemnity cover, clinical quality and less bureaucracy and administration were just a few of the key things which mattered most to those surveyed.
But, as I found, factors away from the surgery can be just as valuable – the importance of lifestyle, culture and being near good schools was also emphasised – because we have lives outside medicine too!
If my story is resonating with you, take a look at the website and see if there is a position which will help support the lifestyle you want.
More about Different Practices
Different Practices is an initiative delivered by NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit. It promotes vacancies across the Midlands and East of England, offering practice and location highlights, videos, and school, transport and lifestyle information.
From big cities to rural/coastal villages, it includes many practices which are looking at different ways of working to give GPs more flexibility. This means that doctors get the work-life balance they need, as well as improving the service we provide for patients.
Vacancies are open to all GPs, with up to £10,000 funding also available for GPs on the Induction and Refresher Scheme, Retained Doctor Scheme, or those returning to practice – which is a real bonus!
To find out more about the pilot, and view the vacancies, go to www.differentpractices.co.uk