Retraining as a GP - Dr Luke Banbury
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Retraining as a GP - Dr Luke Banbury

GP ST2 Northumbria previously Acute Medicine CT3 and Core Anaesthetics CT2

 

When I was a medical student, I wasn’t sure what specialty I wanted to go into but had thought about General Practice as a potential future option.  After finishing my Foundation Years, I went into ACCS: Acute Medicine training and then Core Anaesthetics training.  However, something still didn’t feel right, and that thought of General Practice was still niggling at the back of my mind.  I discovered the GP National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) website, which made me realise that a significant number of GPs have experience in other specialty programmes prior to starting their GP career - I would not be alone.

When I thought about leaving hospital medicine, I understandably had doubts.  I had dedicated a significant amount of time to sitting professional exams, completing portfolios, and developing practical skills; would all of that be going to waste?  What if I was making a big mistake?  What I found reassuring, was reading the stories on this website, and speaking to other people who were once in a similar position to me. 

What I had come to realise is that it’s easy to get ‘lost’ in a training programme.  As hospital doctors, I feel that we are conditioned to sit the exams, undertake audits, attend courses, and complete the constant burden of portfolio work.  As a result, we develop an attitude of head-down, blinkers on, plough-on-through and tick the boxes.  It’s easy to do this without ever really stopping, taking a step-back and looking at the bigger picture.  For me, it was so important to press the ‘pause’ button, jump off the conveyor belt and reflect on whether my current career trajectory was where I saw myself in 10 years’ time.  Was this what I really wanted from my life?  Or was I simply going through the motions of a training programme?  It’s easy to feel that you must keep progressing because of what’s expected, especially if this is reinforced through good feedback or encouragement from others.  But often it means that we skip the vital step where we take the time to truly reflect on the career decision itself, to analyse the opportunity-cost of that training programme, or to even question if a current training programme is what we want for our lives in the long-run.

Since starting my training as a GP, I have never looked back.  I applied for the accreditation of transferable capabilities (ATC) pathway, allowing me to have a 6-month reduction in my training time.  As a GP trainee, I get a half-day of teaching every week and a half-day of personal study time each week. That would have been unheard of in my previous training experiences.  I also know exactly where I will be located for every rotation in my training.  I’m no longer tied to a hospital rota, I’m not working nights or weekends and I don’t have the dreaded 6-monthly hospital placement location-lottery.  All this means that I can finally plan my annual leave easily, get to spend every weekend with my loved ones and finally feel as if I have taken my life back.

General Practice is not without its own pressures; it is a very challenging, busy, and hugely broad specialty.  But with that comes the unique benefits of an incredibly varied day, every patient being different, not knowing what will come through the door and a working day that absolutely flies by. I am certainly never clock-watching or ever feel bored.

Although there are certain acute conditions that I no longer manage or certain procedures that I no longer undertake, I do not see my previous experience as ‘wasted years’ but instead as valuable experience, something that can only make me a better GP in the long run.  I therefore encourage anyone who is in another training programme but is having those seeds-of-doubt, to seriously consider exploring GP as a career option.  I found that speaking to others who were in the same boat as me, really helped to focus my mind, my priorities and reinforced my decision.  It’s never too late, you have many skills that are transferrable to General Practice and you will be far from alone.

Further Case Studies...

Dr Luke Banbury, GP ST2 Northumbria previously Acute Medicine CT3 and Core Anaesthetics CT2 Read more...
Dr Lucy Obolensky, Locum GP and ED staff grade, Associate Professor Global Health and Remote Medicine University of Plymouth, previously Orthopaedic and EM registrar Read more...
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, GP Partner Staffordshire and Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), previously worked in Obs & Gynae Read more...
Dr Owen Carter, GP Partner in London, previously Adult Neurology Read more...
Dr Johnathan Cobb Senior Partner in Yorkshire, previously ITU Registrar Read more...
Dr Chris Lutterodt GP ST3 Surrey, previously Core Surgery Read more...
Dr Sarah Hillman GP ST4 Coventry and Warwickshire, previously Academic Obstetrician Read more...
Dr Keith Gomes Pinto, GPST3 FMLM Medical Fellow, Data, Insights and Statistics Directorate NHS Digital, previously General Surgery Read more...
Dr Amina Al-Yassin, GP Registrar, London, previously a Paediatric trainee Read more...
Dr Pritti Aggarwal, previously general surgery Read more...
Dr Murad Khan, previously an A&E and Cardiology doctor Read more...
Dr Elizabeth Meredith, previously an A&E and Rheumatology Registrar Read more...
Dr Radhika Mistry, previously an A&E and Gastroenterology Registrar Read more...
Dr Youssef Beaini, previously a cardiology doctor Read more...
Dr Judy Jackson, previously a Consultant Psychiatrist Read more...
Dr Faraz Anjum, previously an Anaesthetics Registrar Read more...
Dr Yvonne Girgishanna, previously a Renal Registrar Read more...
Dr Richard Carter, previously an SpR in Respiratory &smp; General Medicine Read more...
Dr Raghuram Shivram, previously a Child & Adolescent Consultant Psychiatrist Read more...
 CONTACT US
  • Email gprecruitment@hee.nhs.uk if you want to talk to newly qualified or experienced GPs, trainees and trainers in your area with similar interests.

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