A survey of GPs across the UK and overseas has shown that half would relocate to be closer to friends and family, or to work flexibly and enjoy better lifestyle opportunities.
The findings are from research carried out by the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU), as part of a pilot by NHS England to increase the number of GPs.
MLCSU’s ‘Different Practices’ is helping match GPs who want to change where, or how they work, with practices across the Midlands and East of England.
Dr Jui Pandit is a GP at the Highgate Medical Practice in Birmingham. She looked at flexible working within the surgery after she felt herself approaching ‘burn out’.
Dr Pandit said: “I used to just work and work and work, never taking much of a break, even the weekends were getting monotonous because we were open on a Saturday morning and it was getting too much - I just didn't enjoy my job.
“To try and get more balance I started to take a Friday off, and it sounds corny but being more flexible has made my job fun again, I actually miss work and it's allowed me to do other things I wouldn't be able to do normally.
“I find I enjoy my time away from work too, I don't waste my weekends anymore, I cherish every single minute of them.”
This experience is backed up by the findings of the survey carried out by MLCSU in which 140 GPs said they’d be willing to relocate for a position that better suited their needs. More than a third of those said they’d like to go to a practice in a small town, while others want to work more flexibly to fit in with their private and family lives.
‘Different Practices’ takes these findings and works with practices to look at different ways of working to allow GPs more flexibility. This means that doctors get the work-life balance they need, while services improve as a result of happy, motivated GPs.
Lifestyle factors such as the closeness of good schools, restaurants, parks and leisure activities, shops and museums is also important. Different Practices promotes the perhaps unexpected features of the locations of our GP practices across the Midlands and East of England – and invites prospective GPs to consider the diverse and wonderful areas outside of London and the South East.
GPs who are thinking of returning to the profession, considering leaving/retiring, or just want a role that better suits their lifestyle needs also can gain a lot from the positions offered by Different Practices.
Vacancies are open to all GPs with up to £10,000 funding available for GPs on the Induction and Refresher Scheme, Retained Doctor Scheme, or those returning to practice.
To find out more about the pilot and view the vacancies, go to the Different Practices website.
A video interview with Dr Pandit can be found on the Different Practices YouTube channel.