Dear colleagues and friends,
As Christmas approaches our thoughts turn towards our families and friends, and having fun. We also count our blessings and think of those who are not so fortunate as ourselves. Until I became President of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, I had not fully grasped the extent and seriousness of the hardship that our colleagues can face; the damage that can be done when an already high-pressure job is met by illness, bereavement or an accident.
Last year the RMBF helped 255 doctors, medical students and their families who were in trouble. Alarmingly, the majority of the doctors in need of our help were young, those just at the start of their medical careers. I feel strongly that it must be our priority to help them get back where they need to be: working as doctors and supporting patients.
Aaron, a Scottish doctor in his early 30s, had severe pain and ringing in his ears and was found to have an acoustic neuroma. He had just been taken on as a GP Partner and he and his wife had a third child on the way. Having had cancer as a child, Aaron hadn’t been able to afford critical illness cover, so long periods off work led to serious financial difficulty. His wife had also developed septicaemia after giving birth and faced a struggle to return to work, all the while taking care of three small children. Thankfully, Aaron was encouraged to get in touch with the RMBF.
—Aaron, RMBF beneficiary
As a charity that looks after doctors, the RMBF understood the specific challenges we faced. Taking away the burden of financial pressure was a really big deal: we knew that we were covered until I could get back to work, that things could eventually return to normal, and most importantly that we could keep a roof over our children’s heads. Sometimes things can crumble away very quickly. Medics are highly motivated, positive go-getters, and we don’t expect to get ill. But when things do suddenly fall apart, the RMBF are a life saver.
Supporting doctors and medical students back in to work or study has tremendous benefits across the board. For doctors and their families with difficulties, it means regaining stability and independence. For fellow doctors, it means welcoming back an extra colleague to an often pressurised NHS environment. And for patients, it means that their doctor will be back to take care of them in their own hours of need.
This year, with your support, we want to double the number of doctors we can help return to medicine. Without the RMBF, we risk losing talented, dedicated medical professionals through nothing more than life’s misfortunes and we simply can’t let that happen.
Please, give a gift today, and join me in making sure all doctors and medical students have that same chance at recovery that we wish for each of our patients.
Thank you sincerely for your time in reading this appeal.
A very happy Christmas and a happy New Year to you all.
Professor Dame Parveen Kumar DBE
President, Royal Medical Benevolent Fund