Is GP right for me – am I right for GP?
You’ve got this far. How do you explore the world of GP and try it on for size? It’s not so easy if your GP placement was years ago - if at all! By now you may have more questions than answers.
You can always ask another doctor (we can help you arrange that) or get a broader perspective by searching for thoughts and views online. Facebook has many doctor forums and groups (including Choose GP.) Follow organisations on Twitter, RCGP, BMJ, BMA, or see what specific GPs are working on in your area. Reach out and get in touch.
GPs are specialists in primary care. Remember as a doctor or consultant (yes many switch to GP training) you already have valuable skills and experience.
The choices you need to make can be overwhelming. If you’re one of the thousands who are not quite sure and considering several options, you may be thinking about what aspects of medicine you enjoy the most. As you start to research and narrow down your specialty choices, you can begin to focus on the reality of training.
For those of you who’ve come across the term portfolio career, it doesn’t mean you have to decide which interests you want to pursue, whether you work in a clinical or non-clinical setting or how you’ll develop as a GP, from day one. In fact, if you think of your career spanning 40 years or so, you’re more likely to be looking for something sustainable - a role you can adapt, continue to learn and flex according to your lifestyle. The path you take is more likely to be shaped by those who have inspired you or a chance conversation with like-minded professionals. There’s ample opportunity to gain extra qualifications.
By the way. We’re absolutely not going to tell you choosing a career in primary care is going to be a bed of roses. Being a doctor is almost always a demanding job. The pressure on GPs can be intense but it does mean there's lots of opportunity for innovation.
Let’s not forget the effects of the coronovirus pandemic. Yes, images of very sick people laying in hospital ICUs for weeks will stick in our minds. GPs adapted patient consultations almost overnight and are now delivering care and planning for a multitude of long-term effects that could last for years. Its these doctors leading multi-disciplinary teams that patients will turn to. The hub at the heart of every community. Where trust, knowledge and secrets are shared, diagnoses are sought advice, education, support and treatment, freely given.
Think along the lines of pursuing what you enjoy most, what gives you a buzz? What challenges would you like tackle? How will you make a difference - as a GP?
Taking the next step
If you want to pin down some of the detail, probably almost everything you need to know about the application process is likely to be on this website. Applicant guidance, recruitment timeline and area maps with local options are a good place to start.
Talk to newly qualified or experienced GPs, trainees and trainers in your area with similar interests and ask them directly. E-mail Daryl and the team firstname.lastname@example.org to help you find connections.
Keep up to date and follow our GP community Facebook page
Thank you to our patients, practice staff, trainees and GPs who came forward and volunteered their time to make this introductory video.
The basics – helping you to understand general practice
What are working sessions?
Although a session is defined as 4 hours 10 minutes, periods of duty do not need to be exact multiples of sessions. For example, short days are permissible as long as the hours are all counted. An example would be where childcare commitments mean that an employee may prefer to work short days – perhaps two days from 9 am to 3 pm and one day from 9 am to 1.40 pm = 4 sessions (16 hours 40 minutes). More information about job planning is on the BMA website.
What is a ….?
General practice has traditionally been run on a partnership model where practices are owned by the GPs themselves (GP partners) and are subcontracted to provide services for the NHS. Partners take a share from the profit and are responsible for providing clinical sessions as well as taking an active role in the administrative and business side of running the practice.
Unlike salaried GPs, there is no set income range for partners. A partner’s income is dependent on both the finances of the practice and how income is distributed within the partnership, so how much you can earn will vary between practices. As an example, in 2014/15 the average income for a GP partner in the UK was £101,500.
Salaried GPs are employed by a practice and receive a salary for a contracted number of hours worked.
There is a minimum set of terms and conditions (‘the Model contract’) that applies to all salaried GPs employed by a GMS practice. The Model contract terms and conditions bring important improvements for salaried GPs, in line with the terms and conditions of other employed doctors in the NHS.
The suggested minimum salary range for salaried GPs is £56, 525 to £85,298. Employers have the flexibility to offer enhanced pay rates. In addition, under the Model contract, a GP's salary must be uplifted annually.
GP Locums work on a freelance basis and are often employed to cover back-fill, leave or sickness. Working as a locum provides a good opportunity to try working in variety of settings, seeing a range of patients and experience different ways of running a practice. It provides a good opportunity to get to know a local area. If work-life balance is important, being a locum puts you in control of how much, where and when you work.
GPs generally work freelance in three different ways:
- As independent freelance locum
- As part of a freelance GP chambers
- Employed through an agency
Locum rates of pay can vary depending on which route you take.
This term encompasses both salaried GPs, and GP locums.
Aside from being a partner, salaried or locum GP, there are numerous opportunities to include portfolio jobs, either full or part-time.
- GP with Special Interest (GPwSI) jobs are available in most specialties, including dermatology, diabetes and minor surgery
- Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) roles range from CCG Chair/Accountable officer to Clinical Director level. These jobs can be done full time or part time
- Teaching and training roles are available if you are interested in becoming a GP educator. Depending on your interest you could either train medical students, foundation year doctors or GP specialist trainees
- GP leadership roles include Associate Medical Director/Medical Directors of community trusts and mental health trusts
- Working for prison health services as a GP
- Working exclusively in Out of Hours GP services
Choose GP, apply on Oriel.