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What would a sabbatical actually cost?

A sabbatical is a legitimate and effective means of taking a break from the daily grind of grassroots general practice, and it is surprising so few GPs take this opportunity to spread their wings. You can take up to a year, and there are no limits on where you can go or how you can spend the time.

Check your partnership agreement, as it may include a clause about partners being entitled to take sabbaticals after a set number of years. In this case, the partnership may meet the cost of covering your absence, allowing you to continue to draw a share of the profits.

The absence of such a clause does not mean you cannot take a sabbatical, but you may have to fund it by yourself and arrange your own locum cover.

One way of reducing the cost burden is to use your sabbatical as prolonged study leave to do research which will directly increase your contribution to medicine or the NHS.

If your proposed course of study is approved by the postgraduate dean, you will be able to claim a locum allowance of £890 a week (less if you are part-time or have been a GP for under five years) and a study allowance of £125.45 a week for up to six months, and half this amount for a further six months.

You will have to produce a written account of your research.

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