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Returning to work

Returning to work after maternity leave can seem daunting. However, many female surgeons have been in this position before you – including your colleagues. Take time to plan your return to work to give yourself the best chance of a smooth transition. 

Maternity rights

The Health and Safety rights of pregnancy also apply to someone who is breastfeeding or has given birth within the last 12 months. A risk assessment should be carried out, with your employer taking reasonable steps to remove any risks found and offering alternative working hours or conditions.

Breastfeeding

It is possible to work as a surgeon and continue breastfeeding. Your employer is required to provide you with access to a private room where you will be able to express milk, store it and take it home. 

Working/training Less Than Full Time (LTFT)

You may want to work flexibly – if you are not a trainee, plan this with your manager well in advance.

If you are a trainee, this is arranged through the LTFT advisor at the LETB. You should talk to them as soon as you consider LTFT as an option. Many trainees request to go LTFT - typically 50-80% - with a cut in salary. Your CCT date moves and your goals are adjusted.

The deanery arranges for one of three options for a LTFT post:

  • slot share
  • supernumerary post
  • part-time in a full-time post

Points to consider about LTFT posts 

Arranging a LTFT post is not always easy or quick. Surgical trainees often find there is no-one to slot-share with, while hospitals can be reluctant to fit part-time doctors into the rota. 

Due to financial constraints , there has been reluctance to put LTFT trainees into supernumerary slots. 

The College’s position statement on Less Than Full Time Training sets out the key principles when arranging LTFT training.

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