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Retraining as a GP - Dr Faraz Anjum

Dr Faraz Anjum, GP in Leicester.
Previously an Anaesthetics Registrar

My journey to general practice was very long winded and tortuous I graduated in 2004 and worked outside the UK in general surgery (2 years), cardiothoracic surgery (2 years) and anaesthesia (5+ years to the level of registrar). My last stint was as an anaesthetics registrar in Ireland.

Why did I change?

To find a career with a decent work life balance.

I found it hard to devote time to my family with endless nights in hospital and my own health was beginning to suffer as a result. But a big part was meaningful patient contact, becoming part of the patient’s story and feeling like I made a difference in the community where I work.

At the time I was asked “why change now? You should probably just continue and complete anaesthesia.”

The best thing about coming to the UK to train in general practice - just how straight forward the process is – the recruitment, the training itself and all the support you get from everyone around you. I was never asked why I wanted to change fields, nor was I ever made to feel like an outsider or that I was older than other candidates in any way. I was measured using the same objective tools as everyone else.

I was given all the required information straight away and the training itself, in Leicester, was excellent. There was a genuine concern for my growth as a GP along with support and encouragement, something I had never felt in hospital. No hard elbows here and the collective of trainers and trainees is just brilliant.

After gliding through the programme, I found the cherry on top, all the post CCT options I have as a GP. I chose to do a post CCT fellowship, in an area of my interest and my post graduate studies were fully funded as well as supported again by mentoring and supervision. I have been made to feel that I am wanted and that general practice is where I belong.

And the most wonderful part of working in general practice is in fact the flexibility. I didn’t even realise how flexible general practice could be until I was part way into my training. I’m able to either develop new skills in paid clinical secondments or pursue my old clinical specialty of anaesthesia for as long as I want. This means I can be a GP 3 days a week and one day I can spend in the hospital as an anaesthetist covering a list or working in ICU/emergency department. Due to my generic GP skills, I am highly appreciated for my clinical acumen no matter where I go. And that is not bound to clinical either – with a full range of leadership and management roles in CCGs, NHS England, Health Education England and in public health and community settings.

I feel I am in charge of my life and my career. I can do as much or as little as I want and adjust according to each stage of my life. My skills are wanted locally, nationally and anywhere I go in the world they are respected. The only down side for me is I came to the part 10 years too late.

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