Striking a better work-life balance through the job planning process is essential to reducing the stress of O&G consultants and improving the attractiveness of the specialty, a royal college report says.
Getting a Life says the key to a work-life balance is the job plan, and the strength of the job plan is greater where responsibilities can be discussed and agreed on an individual, team and department basis.
The lack of work-life balance for doctors in O&G has affected the specialty’s ability to recruit and retain staff. The increasing requirement for consultant presence on the labour ward, and to be resident on-call, has been particularly damaging and the report calls for improved local planning to improve the situation.
The RCOG says on-call time must be followed by appropriate time off for rest and recovery.
The report says the role of the clinical director is crucial with service demands increasing and changing and more training, preparation and support for this role is required.
Job planning must also recognise other responsibilities such as teaching, clinical governance, professional development, it says.
Mr Richard Warren, RCOG honorary secretary, said: “The demands of O&G mean that conscientious doctors do find themselves working harder when they have little energy and this may result in an unhealthy spiral of guilt and disillusionment.
“Apart from having a potentially damaging affect on the doctor’s life, there is also an impact on patient care and we must find ways to support our doctors so that they are healthy and continue to provide excellent care.”
Read the full report.