Nazia, a GP in Southampton completed the Induction and Refresher scheme (I&R) in 2016, having taken 6 years out to complete her family.
"Being a St George's graduate, I started my GP training in London but then moved to Coventry once I married. I completed my VTS in the West Midlands and after spending time as a locum, settled down as a salaried GP in Rugby.
Due to my husband's work commitments, we moved again to South Wales, where I worked until just before the birth of my son. Having started my family, I decided I would be a stay-at-home mum until my youngest was at school.
I took six years out of my career to try and give my kids the best start in life. This, I believe, was great for the kids, but also for me in my role as a mum. However, I knew that having worked so hard to get to the privileged position of being a GP, I wanted to get retrained. So in 2015, once my daughter was in nursery, I had an interview with the local Induction and Refresher lead, and undertook the MCQs and simulated surgery exams as part of the Induction and Refresher assessment process. Despite exams at this stage in life sounding daunting, it was refreshing to be using my brain once more, and being up to date-often more so than many of the actively working GPs. During this time, I attended many local post-graduate teaching sessions and free courses including those at the local private hospitals. The local HEE office (the former deanary) also offered for me to sit in and observe at a GP surgery, if it would make me more comfortable.
Taking the interview and exam results into account, the Induction and Refresher lead suggested I needed up to six months equivalent full time on the I&R scheme. Once I had embarked on the scheme, the local HEE office and my chosen training practice were extremely accommodating; allowing me to work school-friendly hours and have school holidays off too. It felt like my retraining was being presented on a silver platter. Having the monthly bursary was the icing on the cake.
The support, guidance, and autonomy given to me during the Induction & Refresher scheme has been exceptional, and I shall forever be grateful to all those involved.
Having been through the I&R scheme, it is certainly something I would recommend to anyone considering coming back to practice after having taken time out, like I did. I'm glad I took the plunge, as I am thoroughly enjoying the second phase of my career, and long may it continue!"