This pack has been designed to help guide you through your career break and your return to work. There are plenty of hints and tips that should help this process to run as smoothly as possible.
A career break is not always a foreseeable event but there are a few things one can plan if circumstances allow:
Indemnity – inform provider of dates of leave.
Income protection – check status, some may have reduced rates while off so check what your package provides.
GMC, RCGP, BMA and other subscriptions – enquire with regards to reduced fees, some do this according to annual salary.
Mandatory training i.e. BLS/safeguarding – check when this is due in advance so that you can look for update courses before returning/while off. Some online learning packages offer such topics e.g. e-learning for health/Blue Stream which may be available through your practice or companies such as Red Whale and NB Medical).
Check with your practice manager if there are any in house events/important meetings worth attending while off. If not practical, ask for access to minutes.
Appraisal – check when due and whether you wish to or are eligible to defer. If unsure you can always discuss with your appraiser or contact the appraisal team directly by email.
Maintaining CPD can be difficult while off. Email circulars, forums, podcasts and social media groups may provide updates, educational resources and networks so ensure you are on relevant ones while off work if you wish.
This period may be challenging and potentially unexpected. Ensure you take adequate time to rebuild your stamina both physically and mentally while off.
You can register with the Phoenix Programme Return to Work scheme through our website and we will keep you updated on resources, peer support, upcoming events and offer support for specific challenges you may face.
If circumstances allow, there can be benefits of keeping in touch if you are in a regular practice while off work. Each situation is different, and you ultimately need to judge what is appropriate but a small gesture of dropping off some biscuits or cake (even just to the reception desk) can help to keep contact with your practice in a light-hearted way.
If on parental leave taking your baby into the practice facilitates an informal level of contact and helps personalise relationships with colleagues. If also helps them to understand the context if having to dash off to pick up your child in the future!
It may be useful to have a designated point of contact with whom you can liaise.
During parental leave you may wish to consider ‘keeping in touch days’ which enable you to work a maximum of 10 days during maternity or adoption leave as an employee. You would need to inform your indemnity provider if you intend to do clinical work during this time.
There are now many resources to help support GP wellbeing, please see the wellbeing section on the Phoenix website for further information.
Pace yourself, consider seeing occupational health/manager to discuss any specific requirements. Plan a meeting – outline your short term and longer-term needs, how is this going to be achieved.
Induction – A formal induction process is good practice and will save everybody’s time in the long run, even if you are returning to the same place
Phased return – increased appointment times/more breaks, reduced duty shifts initially. You may be able to negotiate this with your practice.
Annual leave – think in advance about booking A/L for after your return
Number of sessions – be realistic, consider reducing number of sessions initially/slower build up.
Consider other ways of working – GP fellowships, GP retention scheme, Out Of Hours e.g. NEMS or providing extended hours work within federations e.g. NCGPA or PICS.
Practice GP buddy – a colleague may be able to act as a buddy initially, advising on any changes since being off and help with queries while starting back.
Appraisal – check when it is due, check local mandatory training course dates, online learning tools.
Indemnity/subscriptions – Confirm return date to indemnity provider, GMC, RCGP, BMA etc – if on a reduction ensure work status/annual salary estimate is updated on their system.
Check your doctors bag including equipment and drugs. A comprehensive guide can be found on the Locum Organiser website.
After parental leave
Plan childcare well in advance and ensure plenty of time commuting around drop off and pick up time
Have a backup plan for sickness
Practice childcare before your first day/induction – get used to dropping off, handing over your baby’s routines etc.
Keep in touch, it can be a positive experience all round to take your baby into the practice in advance of returning to work.
Accept emotional rollercoaster and guilt you can’t be everything to everyone
Staying in the loop
As independent practitioners, isolation is a very real consequence of being away from work. Nowadays we are lucky to have access to a variety of digital resources that enable us to keep in touch with changes in the profession. If circumstances allow, chose what works best for you, with a little planning it is easy to keep up to date.
Keep on mailing lists locally for updates on local learning events e.g. RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty, LMC/Phoenix Programme, Learning Hub, Teamnet, Spire, BMI.
Useful email lists
Alison Wynne – for local events and job opportunities for locums
The Phoenix Programme has launched the Nottinghamshire Medical Chambers which can provide locum cover for practices with no recruitment fees. If you are interested in the Nottinghamshire Medical Chambers or would like further information please email us.
Great for keeping up to date with current issues in GP often with a stream of cases posted by GPs with feedback and advice, a chance to reflect on how you would do things:
Facebook groups – Resilient GP, Tiko’s GP group, Physicians mums, First 5
Twitter/Instagram – follow who you find inspirational
A great way to learn interactively from the comfort of your own home, there are increasing numbers of these including:
Red Whale, NB Medical, Teamnet, Clarity, defence organisations
RCGP curriculum resources
Use the RCGP website or think back to what told you used for exams; do you still have access to these? e.g. Revision books, MCQ websites, Revision Podcasts and courses.
Find your tribe on social media/WhatsApp
Sessional GP subcommittee
Rise and Shine – supporting flexible working and leadership opportunities
International Medical graduates – Facebook group and website