The EBPC GP Experience: Dr Shanika Attale

If you’re considering applying to become an out of hours GP with EBPC, our series of articles on the ‘EBPC GP Experience’ tells first-hand what it’s like to work here. This week we hear from Dr Shanika Attale.

As well as a GP, I am a mother of 2 young children aged 3 & 5.

Like many newly qualified GP mums, once qualified I wanted a regular part time salaried GP job. I knew I needed to build childcare arrangements around the regular pattern of work offered in order to achieve the best work-life balance possible. I found a lovely little practice 10 min drive from my house. I was really excited.

Despite only working 5 sessions in a small practice in an affluent area, the volume of work that needed to be done was significant. Long days with early starts and late finishes became the norm. There were many days when I couldn’t complete all the work that needed to be done.

My work life was taking over my home life. Often, I found myself going in to work on my off days to clear my desk. I could not drop off my children at school as initially planned; nor did I get home in time to tuck them into bed. On my days off, I had little energy to give my family as I was recovering from my day at work.

After months and months of trying to make it work, including meetings trying to negotiate improvements, I finally resigned. I didn’t have much of a plan regarding my career. I just needed some time out.

But work kept rolling in through EBPC. They often need doctors to help with busy shifts or cover last minute gaps. I was working regularly for EBPC both as an out of hours GP and for an extended hours service, which is offered so that local practices can book patients in for routine GP appointments. Now I find myself working more as an extended hours doctor and picking up more regular and last minute out of hours shifts as well.

I absolutely enjoy the work. I like the fact there is a clear definition to my working hours and workload. I don’t feel exhausted and totally drained after my shifts. Better still, the evening hours I work allows me to devote my days to my children and their ever-more-complicated activity diaries. In the evenings, either my husband or a local babysitter who knows my children well can take over. I have more time and – critically – energy to devote to my children.

I love the flexibility it offers. I work less during school holidays more when I have abundant childcare e.g. when family are visiting. Payments are regular and clear, with an automated timesheet online. I don’t have to invoice them. This cuts down on a lot of the extra paperwork that locums have to deal with. EBPC even pays pension contributions. I feel EBPC pays doctors very fairly, to the extent I am not even losing out financially relative to my salaried income.

I couldn’t recommend my current career choice more highly to mum GPs in my position.

Are you a mother and a GP struggling to find the right balance? We can help you towards achieving a work-life balance that suits you. Apply now.