Occasionally, despite your best attempts to avert it, you may find yourself in a financial crisis. There are a few things you can do if you find yourself in this situation. Most importantly, you must speak to someone rather than trying to cope by yourself.
- If you feel able to, talk to your family and friends. You may not want to accept any financial help, but at the very least they can support you and you can tackle the problem together. Parents and other family members generally prefer to know about difficult situations, rather than finding out afterwards that you were really struggling.
- Speak to your bank manager and explain the situation. They may be able to temporarily extend your overdraft and they can help you to prevent a similar situation happening again.
- If you are unable to pay your rent, speak to your landlord or landlady early on. You may be able to negotiate a late payment, and at the very least you can warn them that you are unable to pay that month – a lot better than them finding out the day your rent is due!
- If you are unable to pay council tax, speak to your local council. If left, a council tax bill can lead to court action being taken against you, but if you speak to them early you can often come up with a manageable repayment plan.
- The same applies for other bills – ring up and explain the situation and they will often be flexible and helpful, instead of sending you threatening letters when payment is late.
- In a real emergency you can apply for a crisis loan from the government’s Social Fund. Crisis loans are interest free and are there to prevent serious harm to you or your family’s health and wellbeing. Speak to someone at your local CAB or visit www.direct.gov.uk for further information.
- The most important thing is to seek help early. It may be difficult asking for financial support but once you are over the immediate crisis you can come up with a repayment plan and put measures in place to prevent a disaster from occurring again!
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The BMA is the professional association/trade union for doctors in the UK, and looks after the professional and personal needs of its members. It can help you with any difficulties or disputes with your employer, and there are local representatives who can meet with you and support you through difficult times. It can provide advice on a wide range of issues, and is a really good first port of call.
The website provides a wealth of information on a range of issues affecting doctors, including health and legal matters. They list the contact details for a wide range of resources for doctors in difficulty. You can even talk to an advisor online if you don’t want to ring or email!
Support website run by the RMBF, containing a wealth of information on careers, training, health and financial issues. There is a section for doctors who are unwell, as well as articles on budgeting and debt management.
Local Counselling Services
Some trusts offer a free counselling service for their staff – it is worth asking if you think it would benefit you.
Health, Disability, Stress and Addiction
Addiction/alcohol resources (not specifically for doctors)
www.m-c-a.org.uk (Medical Council on Alcohol)
https://ukna.org/ (Narcotics Anonymous)