Becoming a GP

If you’ve considered a career as a doctor, then you might be interested in the varied and fascinating life of a general practice doctor. A GP is usually the first point of contact for a patient, so the GP’s role is a vital one in ensuring patients get the treatment they require.

A GP provides accessible and continuous medical care for all patients in a local community, seeing them at appointments in the surgery, making home visits or travelling to care homes.

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It’s a job that’s not just about diagnosing an illness or problem as it requires a whole person approach, meaning taking into account factors such as emotional, physical and social needs. The work includes referring patients on to further services at hospital clinics and running your own clinics at the surgery, perhaps for patients who suffer with asthma for example.

A GP works alongside many other healthcare professionals to provide a well-rounded care service for everyone in the community, young or old. Part of the role is to provide support and information so that patients may take responsibility for their own health too.

As you progress in your career, you might become a partner in a practice. This means that you’ll become more involved in the business side of things, such as employing staff, dealing with contracts and making sure the practice is working within budgets.

A working day could be a long one, starting at around 8am and running into the early evening. Some practices offer a Saturday morning and late evening surgery, so you could be expected to work rather more unsociable hours. However, it is also a job that can be worked flexibly, part-time and even as a locum to give you more independence and freedom. For GP’s looking for locum opportunities, consider GP Locum Jobs through

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The responsibilities of a GP include:

Responding to a patient’s health problem through diagnosis, examination, treatment and referral if necessary and referring to patient’s history

Always respect confidentiality and remain impartial

Work with other medical professionals in the practice and hospital

Actively promote health education and arrange preventative programmes for some patients

Operate clinics for specific needs, such as diabetes, stopping smoking and asthma for example.

Reach government targets for specific health programmes like child immunisations

Meet with and discuss pharmaceutical products with the drug company’s sales representatives.

Stay abreast of new developments, new drugs, treatments and other thinking relating to healthcare.

Be involved in teaching and training/observing student GPs and medical students in a college or local hospital.

The types of skills that successful GPs possess include:

Motivated, compassionate, tenacious and thorough

Able to work well with a multidisciplinary team of varied healthcare professionals

Strong listening and communication skills

The ability to lead, particularly when working as a partner or in a mentoring capacity with students

IT skills and time-management