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Independents' Day

Career Taster - Family planning

Dr Ruth Chapman talks to GPs working in family planning

Dr Ruth Chapman talks to GPs working in family planning

Why it's on my job menu: The thought of seeing mainly well patients for relatively straightforward consultations appeals to me. The work seems varied within its field – there are clinics for young people (which include sexual health promotion and chlamydia screening), IUD and IUS fittings and contraceptive implant insertions. Counseling for psychosocial issues or unintended pregnancies can also be part of the job. The work is well defined which allows you to keep up to date more easily and become a specialist. Part time work is a realistic option and you can become involved in teaching.

Skills/traits needed: the ability to work well in a team with nurses and other colleagues. You may also be working in a number of different clinics with different patient groups. Practical skills are required and covered in your training.

Necessary training: The Faculty of Family Planning (part of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) changed its name this year to The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. Thus the required diploma is now called the DFSRH rather than the DFFP. You will need to attend a three day theory course towards the DFSRH setting you back around £400. After attending the theory course you then undergo practical family planning training under the supervision of a faculty registered trainer. This is usually at a family planning clinic. You are required to complete a log book of clinical experience and are assessed throughout and then summatively by a trainer. During this practical training you can be signed up for 5 IUD insertions which count towards the Letter of Competence in Intrauterine Techniques. You may also be given subdermal implant insertion and removal training. This will allow you to apply for the Letter of Competence in Subdermal Contraceptive Implant Techniques. Letters of Competence cost £28. The registration fee for the completed DFSRH is £68 and there is an annual subscription fee to the Faculty.

Avoid if: you prefer to see patients of both sexes.

Pay rate: a relatively poor £94.80 per session (2 hours). This seems to be a service run by women for women and as such has traditionally been poorly paid. Almost all doctors in this field are female.

Job satisfaction rating: 4/5. The job fits in well as part of a portfolio but would not provide much variety or a great income on its own. One doctor told me the job is busy but not stressful. She told me that many female doctors and nurses do the work ‘because they are passionate about it'.

Find out more:

Dr Ruth Chapman works as a locum and is on the flexible careers scheme

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