Career quandary: I’m a newly qualified GP - where do I start?
Andrew Dean, director at Menlo Park, answers a common dilemma facing GPs looking for their first role
Question: I’ve recently qualified as a GP but I’ve got no idea what different options are available to me. Where should I start my search and what questions should I be asking?
Andrew Dean says...
Choice is on your side in the current market as the GP vacancy rate is high, making it a great time to join. However, the different types of GP roles to choose from can be confusing - salaried, partnership, out-of-hours, locum and portfolio roles, to name a few.
To help you choose the right path, you need to ask yourself why you went through your training to qualify as a GP in the first place. If your priority is to look after patients, I firmly believe you should seek a practice that affords you the time and effort to nurture this aspiration - and it is possible to find one.
Joining a training practice that can offer you their time and expertise is an ideal option. You’re not the finished article yet so you need the support of a practice that’s willing to provide this. I’m working with some great training practices that allow extended appointments for new permanent GPs, for example. Some fund specialist courses such as dermatology diplomas and give you the platform to provide that service.
Get in touch with a recruiter that specialises in permanent GP hires, discuss what you want from your career and the different options available to you - whether you’re just looking to get your feet under the table, have any specific interests you want to pursue or want to work towards partnership status within a specific timeframe.
Ask the recruiter for insights into different surgeries, such as:
- What’s the working culture really like?
- What’s the staffing ratio?
- How does the practice relate to your training?
- How many sessions would you be doing?
- How many patients does each GP see each day?
- How many home visits would you be expected to carry out?
- What’s a reasonable salary to expect?
As a newly qualified GP, you would be best off focusing your search on a permanent salaried position. Reasons for locuming, such as flexibility and higher pay, have become redundant, as many salaried roles now offer packages that trump these perceived benefits. If you go straight into locum work you could become deskilled and limit your future career options.
Ultimately, keep an open mind - pick somewhere you’ll enjoy coming to work, feel looked after and nurtured in your career development journey.