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

A few words about GP+ Networking from a GP trainer

GP+ Networking coachI was a GP trainer for many years so I feel I am able to say that the GP+ Networking website will become an essential tool for anyone working in or with Primary Care in the West Country.

It has been conceived and designed by an enthusiastic and very able young doctor who perceived a real need for an on-line forum to help with a wide range of Primary Care problems. If you need a job or have a job to be filled this website can help.

If you want to know what’s going on in CPD in your area – or even if you want to share a lift to a meeting or conference – find it on this website. If you want to network or develop a political career in medicine, then you need this forum.

Test your ideas and spread your ideas, develop new ways of working and promote what you are doing through this website. If you want to hear about the latest advances in Primary Care Medicine this may be the way forward.

In summary this website will be what its following makes of it. It could go in many different directions. So join up and contribute. You can make a difference very quickly and we should be very grateful to Cathryn and her team for getting the whole project up and running.

We wish you the very best of luck with this new and exciting venture.

Martin Minogue

Peninsula GPST1 Induction

Great day with the peninsula GP trainees and team at the Peninsula GPST1 induction. A very neighbourly welcome and a real positive vibe all round! Very positive support about GP+ Networking.

Wonderfully inspiring talk by Sir Denis Pereira Gray about the art of General Practice and how training has evolved.

GP Trainees to Innovate

GP+ Networking

Looking forward to traveling to Peninsula deanery to speak at GPST induction with the aim of enthusing other GP trainees to innovate. Never underestimate your contribution to change. Fresh eyes are invaluable to the process of quality improvement from within established general practice. Those who are immersed within the job may find it difficult to see the possibility for improvement and I am sure will always welcome alternative suggestions. If there is a reason your idea isn’t suitable then you will learn from it. Your effort is appreciated. If there is no reason then you take your first step to making it better.

Fear will only stagnate progress!