Dr Charles Forsyth

Nutritional Physician

 
 

In the summer of 2017 I decided I was ready to start moving consciously towards retirement.  I realised I would be 65 in 2019 and the time had come to shift the emphasis of my life to those areas that have been overshadowed by my passion for my medical work.  At first I was considering full retirement in 2019 with a marked reduction in workload in 2018, but as the months rolled on I decided to try cutting back to just two clinics a week from 2019 onwards, with frequent holidays.  For the foreseeable future I have no plans to fully retire.


My difficulty has always been that I am a medical generalist and rather too enthusiastic, curious and conscientious, and want to know and understand too much about too many fields - for my own good!  The result has been that I have allowed medicine to dominate my life rather too much for the last 44 years.  So I have decided the time has come for me to try and give more time to the many other things that I am passionate about while I still can!


My plans are still evolving, but the following is how they stand at the moment.


Clinics in 2018

  1. Tuesday Afternoon - Reigate - roughly alternate weeks for the rest of 2018.

  2. Wednesday Morning - Reigate.

  3. Thursday Afternoon - Biolab.


Clinics in 2019

  1. Wednesday Morning - Reigate.

  2. Thursday Afternoon - Biolab.


Holidays

I will be taking frequent holidays, usually 1-2 weeks off, every 4 - 6 weeks.

Sometime in 2019 I will be taking off an extended period of leave, probably for 3 months, details yet to be decided, but probably April, May and June.

I will be arranging medical cover for my practice as usual, as far as possible.


Appointment Availability

I am afraid there will be more pressure on appointment availability - therefore booking appointments well in advance will be very advisable. 


Appointment Cancellations

Please, please provide us with as much notice as possible if you need to cancel an appointment - ideally 2 weeks notice.  This is because of the reduced office cover and the difficulty of contacting other patients at short notice wanting an earlier appointment.


Clinical Availability

My intention is to confine all my clinical work to just Wednesdays and Thursdays - so I will be trying not to answer patient emails, etc outside these days!


Office Cover

This summer (2018) my office cover has reduced to just two days a week: Wednesday and Thursday mornings - which is when voice messages and emails will be dealt with.  My apologies for this reduced cover but my secretary Marlys had to leave us (for personal reasons) and Janet who has worked on Wednesday and Thursday mornings for many many years is unable to do much more.


New Patients

Unfortunately I have not been taking on new patients for some time because of the pressure on appointment availability for my current patients.  However this situation may change if appointment availability improves.


Medical Trainee(s)

I have been looking for one or more suitable trainee doctors to join me, in an effort to try and provide greater availability of on-going care for my patients.  The aim would be that those current patients who are not able to consult me as soon as they would like, could see my trainee, who could then discuss their case with me, where necessary.  Unfortunately there are still so few doctors in the UK practicing or training in ecological / functional medicine or homeopathy.  Both my professional organisations (the British Society of Ecological Medicine (BSEM) and Faculty of Homeopathy) have been trying hard to address this issue for many years - and I am delighted to say that the tide appears to be now gradually turning, but it is going to take some time before this has any real impact on the availability of trained doctors, since more and more of us ‘old hands’ are retiring.


Medical License to Practice

In an effort to further reduce my workload and expenses I have decided to give up my ‘License to Practice’ medicine towards the end of 2018.

In practical terms what this mainly means to my patients is:


1) I will no longer be able to prescribe ‘Prescription Only Medicines’ (POMs).  In reality my POM prescribing is extremely small both in frequency and breadth (nystatin and occasional systemic antifungals; thyroid medications, rarely antibiotics, rarely cortisone).

     • For those patients who require POMs, I will help them find medical colleagues who can prescribe for them and with whom we can share their medical care. (If this applies to you, please contact my office at least 6 weeks before your current prescription runs out.)


2)  It also means that my practice of medicine will not be monitored or regulated by our General Medical Council (GMC).


To maintain our medical ‘License to Practice’ we have to go through an annual appraisal with a GMC certified appraiser and every 5 years we are ‘revalidated’ by a Registered Officer of the GMC who considers our performance assessed by the previous 5 years appraisals.

I was one of the very early adopters of what was a voluntary medical appraisal system, my first appraisal was in 2004, long before the appraisal system became a legal requirement.  I was also in the very first batch of doctors to be revalidated under the new system, and was revalidated in 2014.


The decision to give up my License to Practice is mainly because:

  1. 1) Reducing my Expenses.  Over the years, as a registered doctor with a License to Practice in private practice our unavoidable annual expenses have steadily increased, making it increasingly difficult to work very part-time.  This includes our GMC membership fee, medical indemnity insurance, membership fees for our professional bodies, our appraisal and revalidation fees, etc.  Relinquishing one’s License to Practice reduces these expenses dramatically.

  2. 2) Time.  Collecting and collating all the information required for the annual appraisal is very time consuming - and detracts from time I would rather be giving to my clinical and other professional work.

  3. 3) Past Performance.  I have always met all the requirements for appraisal and revalidation purposes, especially for continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD), many times over (usually more than 100 hours annually).


I will be continuing all my CME and CPD activities for the foreseeable future.

  1. I was the founder of and run two local professional study / peer supervision groups - the West Surrey and West Sussex Homeopathic Group (founded 2000) and the South East Ecological Medicine Group (founded 2016), both of which meet once a month.

  2. I was a founder member of and regularly attend the EcoMed Peer Supervision Group (founded 2009) meeting about every 2 months, and the ABCD Homeopathic Supervision Group (founded 2006) meeting 3 times a year for a whole day.

  3. I am the Treasurer of the BSEM and prior to this have been a BSEM committee member since around 2002.  I was a founder member of the BSEM in 1984, then called the British Society for Nutritional Medicine.

  4. In the past I have been a committee member of the Faculty of Homeopathy.

  5. I almost always attend the Faculty of Homeopathy’s biannual three day congress and have made presentations at each of the last two and am doing so again this year in October.

  6. I attend almost all the BSEM one day conferences, which are usually twice a year.  I organised the conference “The Halogens in Health & Disease” in November 2011.

  7. I attend other seminars and conferences as they come up.

  8. For the last 10 years and more I have averaged well over 100 hours annually of training, conferences, seminars, study and peer supervision groups and other formal study.  My own informal study is many times this and is on an almost daily basis, comprising reading medical and scientific journals, research publications, looking up topics relating to my patients problems and their management, writing and updating patient information sheets, developing my ecological medicine database system, etc.  I regard on-going education as part and parcel of what I do - I have always been hungry for a broader, deeper, more complete understanding in all my areas of interest and endeavour.

  9. I am mentoring a number of doctors who are training in Ecological Medicine.

My Semi-Retirement Plans

RECENT CHANGES

TO MY PLANS


August 2018:

• I will now be holding clinics throughout November and also the middle two weeks of December.