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Support Services for RCOG members & trainees

Peer to Peer Support Service

The College offers informal peer to peer to members who are looking for guidance from their peers on workplace issues, interpersonal difficulties, return to work options or non-clinical concerns. This is not intended as a formal mentoring service but more a ‘connection’ service and a way for members to find other members who are willing and able to give guidance on handling mainly non-clinical issues.

Process

You can make an initial enquiry using the form below. A panel of members from the Supporting Our Doctors Task Group review the requests and take it in turn to provide one to one support and guidance to the enquirers. This may be one-off support or may lead to an ongoing dialogue. The service is treated as strictly private and confidential. Issues discussed will not be shared outside the peer to peer relationship unless there is a specific agreement between the mentor and mentee or a safety issue arises.

Peer to Peer Support Enquiry Form

 

Expert Opinion Service

The College has also launched an Expert Opinion Service to help doctors and their employers to resolve complaints locally or enable Trusts to support doctors returning to work after a period of absence due to suspension. Both the doctor and the employer must agree to sign up to the service which will be provided by a panel of members from the Supporting our Doctors Task Group.

Process

The panel members will review prima facie evidence before meeting with the doctor and the employer (individually) to clarify points; the panel will then consolidate the information and provide an opinion on the options available to the doctor and employer. Most of the interactions will be done remotely and an opinion offered within 6 weeks

Benefits

  • Retain more doctors in practice, where this is safe and appropriate, while an investigation takes place, especially when the dispute relates to non-clinical issues.
  • Doctors feel better supported by both their employer and their professional body.
  • Less defensive practice by doctors and therefore a better patient care.
  • Fewer suspensions and locum cover means reduced costs for the employer.

 

Workplace Behaviour Champions

A network of Workplace Behaviour Champions has been created by RCOG to address undermining and bullying behaviour in the workplace. The champions, sourced from the RCOG membership, are based in every school/deanery across the UK and are a resource for trainees and SAS/Trust doctors who want independent advice to tackling unacceptable behaviour.

 

If trainees work in the same unit as their local Champion and find external support more appropriate, they can contact Champions from neighbouring schools/deaneries.

A poster has also been developed to raise awareness of bullying and undermining behaviours, and to signpost people to their local Workplace Behaviour Champion. Members can download the poster from the RCOG website here and display it in their workplace.

Further advice and support for trainees can be found here.

Consultants seeking such advice are directed to the Peer to Peer Support Service for guidance.

 

Return to work toolkit

Doctors may take time out from clinical practice for several reasons including parental leave, sickness, burnout, career breaks, to conduct research or to seek out additional clinical experience or training. It is understandable that doctors returning to work may have considerable anxieties regarding resuming clinical duties, particularly as the situation can be compounded by additional stressors such as starting in a new hospital with unfamiliar systems and protocols, childcare and recovering from sickness.

The RCOG have therefore produced a Return to Work toolkit to:

  • Provide information and practical guidance on preparing to return to work after a period of absence
  • Provide information to Supervisors on supporting doctors to make a safe transition back to clinical work
  • Provide guidance on the ideal framework for supporting all doctors planning and returning from an absence from work
  • Provide a template for setting up a local ‘Return to Work’ course

The toolkit provides advice for Trainees as well as consultants, SAS and non-training doctors and includes a useful framework for both doctors and employers.

There is also guidance for educational and clinical supervisors who are supporting a doctor returning to work and specifically those who are supporting a doctor who may be experiencing difficulties in returning to work.

 

Job Planning

The RCOG encourages a transparent approach to job planning linked to developmental objectives of the new appointee and the department.

An average weekly timetable should be included in any job plan submitted to the College for approval to enable the Consultant to maintain continuity of patient care with his/her caseload. In accordance with the RCOG criteria, job plans must also include a minimum of 1.5 SPAs; SPAs reflect time spent undertaking activities that are essential to the long-term maintenance of the quality of the health service but don’t represent direct patient care, such as teaching, training, education, audit, appraisal, research and clinical management.

Further information on the RCOG job planning process, including a template person specification and an average weekly timetable for an O&G consultant can be found here.