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.
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.
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.
Various clinical assistantships for 3-13 years in A/E, Rheumatology and Gynaecology
“Doctor’s friend,” which entailed assisting colleagues with complaints and then for the Medical Defence Union
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
Became a GP trainer
GP Expert Witness providing independent GP opinions on the standard of care of GPs when being sued by patients.
In the days of Fundholding, trained in Vasectomies to provide a service to local GPs cheaper than hospital tariff.
Cardiff University Expert Witness certificate
Coventry Professional Executive Committee
Clinical Lead on CCG
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.
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