Personal reflection of LTFT

Laura Checkley

Consultant Psychiatrist, East London NHS Foundation Trust

I graduated from Manchester University in 2004.  I completed my house jobs (as they were then called) in Manchester, before working in Australia for 12 months.  I then returned to UK and completed core psychiatry training in London.

I have worked less than full time since having my first child in 2011, and took 2 periods of maternity leave during higher training.  I completed all of my higher training in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability working LTFT, varying between 60% and 80%.  For me, 80% gave a good balance between having a regular presence at work, and completing my training, while having enough time with my children.  My training programme director supported me to work LTFT, and ensured all my training needs were met.  I had the benefit of gaining a greater breadth of experience through extending my training time by working LTFT.

I have been a consultant in East London for 18 months.  For just over a year, I have been in a job share with a friend I met during core training.  We each work 6.5PA, and cross over one day each week, allowing for handover.  We swap days annually, varying the roles and responsibilities we each have, and allowing us to rotate who has Friday off! The trust and colleagues have been extremely supportive of the job share arrangement, and we have been there to support each other as new consultants.

I have tried and tested every variant of child care over the past 8 years; from nannies, to nurseries, childminders to after school clubs.  For me, having a nanny before and after school has alleviated the pressure to rush, and given consistency to the children.  I am also lucky to get a lot of childcare support from grandparents who live locally!

I have recently taken on the role of Flexible Training Champion in my trust, and hope to support trainees in having an equally successful and rewarding experience of working less full time.  I have made it work, and feel I have achieved a work life balance that suits me and my family.