Table 5

Personal life perspective

SubthemeDetailsIllustrative quote
Work-life balance
Work-life conflictSome of the F2s described a poor work-life balance in their current NHS roles.‘I’ve missed friends’ weddings, I’ve missed a christening, I missed my grandmother-in-law’s funeral because I couldn’t get the time off work.’ (P5)
The F2s expected there to be less work-life conflict in their roles abroad.‘I’ve spoken to people who are doing A&E there [in New Zealand], and it’s very similar, but, less hours. So, they normally do four days a week, whereas, right now, I’m doing seven. I’m on seven days right now, and I’m working from either two or three, ’till midnight, every day. Next week, I’m going straight into nights. So that’s two weeks that I cannot have any social life. In New Zealand, I can do the job for four days a week, and then have a nice weekend off.’ (P4)
Work affecting health**The F2s recounted times when work had negatively affected their own or others’ health.‘She [another doctor] says the quality of life out there [in Australia] is so much better. She said when she worked here she was always stressed out, quite anxious as well… Then when she went out there she felt more supported and had enough time off to relax. She feels like she’s absolutely a completely different person because her work life now doesn’t affect her personal life.’ (P9)
Support in resolving work-life conflictSome F2s had heard reports that work-life balance was better supported in Australia, through better handover arrangements and support from consultants.‘It’s easier to leave on time [in Australia], because you know there’s someone there to handover to and your consultant is there saying, go home, is what I’ve been kind of told.’ (P3)
They perceived a lack of support from the NHS in helping to resolve work-life conflict.‘We know for a fact that we have three vacancies coming up in our rota, and they’ve done nothing to try and fill them, because in the end they’re just going to email round us, rather than getting a locum… and the thing is we do, we do still fill it because we need to, the patients need us.’ (P9)
  • F2s, foundation year two doctors; NHS, National Health Service.