I had been putting off joining a training programme for some time because I dreaded the effects a full on-call commitment would have on my personal life.
I have quite a full life outside of medicine, working on various community projects and having an involved family life. I was thrilled to learn about the category 3 LTFT (less-than full-time) option when I started IMT (internal medicine training) last year.
I’m quite a busy person and going 80% offered the way back to an acceptable work/life balance. I also have dyslexia and was finding exam revision quite challenging and felt having an extra day would really helpful to get myself organised and study more effectively.
It has also helped me gain better perspective over my working life. I’ve become better at handing over non-urgent jobs and escalating staffing issues (based on work load, not just minimum staffing requirements) to ensure that myself and my colleagues have a good work/life balance on work days as well as off days.
I’ve learnt to value what I am contractually entitled to and so I’m more likely to exception report.
I recommend going LTFT 80% under category 3 to all my colleagues, especially for IMT. For IMT, training does not have a minimum time requirement.
The GMC requires a minimum of 75% time in training to progress with the rest of your training year, so by going 80% there is no mandated extended time to training unless you are missing your benchmarks.
I have actually found myself more likely to meet my training benchmarks since going LTFT as I have time to create a plan for what I need and when I am going to get things done.
LTFT category 3 allows trainees to request the opportunity to undertake a period of LTFT for personal choice and was initially made available in emergency medicine, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology.
From August 2022, LTFT category 3 will be rolled out fully to all postgraduate specialties.
Shaista Kerai is an IMT1 at King's Mill Hospital in the East Midlands