Tony Feltbower- how he avoided burnout

I believe that there are three ways to avoid burnout and continue to enjoy working as a General Practitioner: do something in addition to GP, always have something to work towards, and remind yourself that money isn’t everything.

I have set myself challenges to work towards roughly every five years.

 

My timetable:

  • 1982
    Started in practice as a GP partner, 7 sessions/week, 1:2 Friday afternoons/Saturday mornings. Reorganised the practice over the next few years to sort, tag and summarise notes.
  • 1983
    Appointed as postgraduate tutor in Coventry. This enabled me to become a co-opted member of the local medical committee. This provided an entry into the world of medico-politics. Most people might find it boring and something to avoid. However, I think that it is much better to be within a system, understanding how it works and how it can be made to work best for you and your patients, rather than just letting everything happen around you without having any control yourself.
  • 1983-1996
    Various clinical assistantships for 3-13 years in A/E, Rheumatology and Gynaecology
  • 1988
    “Doctor’s friend,” which entailed assisting colleagues with complaints and then for the Medical Defence Union
  • 1989-1992
    3-year Distance Learning Course in Occupational Medicine leading to the AFOM and providing Occupational Medical services to many local companies until my retirement in 2015
  • 1991
    Became a GP trainer
  • 1992-1995
    LMC Chair
  • 1994
    GP Expert Witness providing independent GP opinions on the standard of care of GPs when being sued by patients.
  • 1995
    In the days of Fundholding, trained in Vasectomies to provide a service to local GPs cheaper than hospital tariff.
  • 2003
    Cardiff University Expert Witness certificate
  • 2003
    Coventry Professional Executive Committee
  • 2007
    Clinical Lead on CCG
  • 2010
    GP Appraiser

Money

Some things, such as committee work, pay little or nothing but are important and help me to understand our work. Other medical work, such as expert witness reports, not only pays well but is very interesting and informative at the same time, helping to keep me safe from complaints!

And where does the time come from? Good time management, especially trying to do only those jobs that a GP can do, and delegating as much as possible to others. Do not aim to do more than seven sessions a week as a GP; use the other two (not three, as I believe that everyone should have at least the equivalent of one afternoon off a week to help maintain sanity and avoid burnout) in a different way, whether for no money or lots of money. And finally, keep your desk clear. So that I can start afresh on Monday mornings, I endeavour never to leave work on a Friday until all paperwork is completed, yet still get to the pub for 6 30.

Tony Feltbower
www.DrFeltbower.com


Further information

Society of Occupational Medicine www.som.org.uk
Bond Solon Expert Witness Training www.bondsolon.com
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health www.fsrh.org
Association of Surgeons in Primary Care www.aspc-uk.net

Primary Care Societies

We are pleased to announce that both the Association of Surgeons in Primary Care (ASPC) and the Primary Care Society of Gastroenterology (PCSG) have both provided support for GP+ Networking so that we can work collaboratively,  bringing groups of GPs with specialist interest together.  Both societies provide excellent educational resources that will be published via the events section of GP+ Networking. We hope to work with other primary care societies in a similar way to strengthen the specialist work being done in primary care.

 

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GP Career Event

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Dr Cathryn Dillon , the founder of GP+ Networking was happy to attend the RCGP Severn faculty GP career discussion in Bristol on Tuesday. What was clear from the event was the wide range of training opportunity available in GP training. Recent changes included a deferred entry scheme to allow FY2 doctors the chance to explore outside interests before starting GP training and the ‘Step on Step off’ model that allows time to expand training in specialist interest areas. The event spoke about academic fellow posts and the global health programme, which is so attractive for many considering career options. The ease of less than full time training was highlighted to allow a better work life balance or indeed to continue additional studies in extended roles.

Cathryn presented her findings from a study of 440 GPST trainees in the South West. It was a surprise to learn that 95% of trainees wanted some form of extended role within general practice. Popular choices were emergency medicine, surgery and education. Closer working between primary and secondary care delivering care closer to home seems to be the future. GP+ Networking has been built in view of this progression within general practice and will provide the communication platform to match those with similar extended roles. Register your interest at www.medicalnetworking.co.uk by signing in. Once fully launched it will be free to use .