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GP General practitioner, doctor

General practitioners (GPs) are doctors who provide medical services to people in the community.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £26,350 to £84,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 45 to 50 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • a 2-year foundation course of general training
  • specialist training in general practice

You may be able to get NHS funding to pay for your course fees and help with your living expenses.

If you trained as a doctor overseas you'll need to contact the GMC for details about registering and practising in the UK.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • leadership and management skills
  • confidence and decisiveness under pressure
  • practical skills for examining patients and performing clinical procedures
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to inspire trust and confidence

3. What you'll do

GPs are one of the first points of contact for people needing medical attention. As a GP, you'll see patients in your surgery or visit them at home.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • making a diagnosis
  • giving general advice
  • prescribing medicine
  • recommending treatment
  • carrying out minor surgery
  • referring patients to specialist consultants for tests and further diagnosis

You'll be involved in running the practice and might also:

  • arrange support from other health professionals, such as physiotherapists and nurses
  • write letters and reports, and keep patient records
  • organise clinics and health education for patient groups, like pregnant women or smokers
  • take further training in specialist areas such as minor surgery or mental health

You'll often work in a team that includes practice nurses, health visitors, midwives, counsellors and administrative support staff.

4. Salary

Starter: £26,350 to £30,500 (foundation training)

Experienced: £36,000 to £45,750 (specialist training)

Highly Experienced: £56,000 to £84,500 (salaried GPs)

Many GPs are self-employed and have a contract as part of a clinical commissioning group (CCG). In this role you may earn more than a salaried GP.

Your income will depend on the services you provide and how you run your practice.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work up to 50 hours a week, including some evenings and weekends. You may also be on a rota for out-of-hours emergency work and making home visits.

If you work in a rural practice you may have to travel to see patients.

6. Career path and progression

You could move into medical work in hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, the police or the prison service.

You could also work in education, teaching students training to be GPs.

You might also get involved in local issues, maybe as a member of a local medical committee or clinical commissioning group.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017