General Practitioner


General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem. Looking after the whole person – physical, emotional, social, spiritual – is a vital part of any GP’s role. GPs see patients of all ages from newborn babies to elderly people.

GPs work as part of large multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) which support the holistic care of any patient. These can include nurses, midwives, health visitors, pharmacists, physician associates, psychiatrists and care of the elderly specialists. They meet regularly to discuss cases and plan joint approaches to co-ordinate care for people.

Common procedures/interventions

  • performing clinical examinations of patients to assess, diagnose and monitor a patient’s condition
  • interpreting findings from investigations such as blood tests to help reach a diagnosis
  • supporting patients to look after themselves

Most GPs spend a significant amount of time seeing patients in individual consultations, wherever they are based. The working week is divided up into sessions, each lasting half a day.  Seeing patients for individual consultations is only one aspect of the work. The rest of the week is spent on administration, meetings, training, teaching and special interests, depending on the workload of the individual GP.

As a partner, you are responsible for running your own business, and as such have a large degree of control in how the practice is run.  You can (in conjunction with the other partners if there are any) decide who to hire, which new services you wish to offer and have a say in how things are organised and run day to day.  This can be very satisfying, although it can be a burden as well – the buck stops with you.

Entry Requirements

Prior to starting your specialty training you need to have completed a university medical degree (generally a five-year programme, but this varies between universities), followed by a two-year foundation programme.  There is a further 3 years of GP specialty training.  It is also possible for doctors in training or already qualified in another specialty to apply for GP specialty training.  It is useful to test out your interest in general practice by talking to doctors already working in the specialty and by getting relevant work experience during the foundation programme. 

Depending on your stage in preparing to be a GP, more information can be found through the following links:

General Practice National Recruitment Office

Animated FAQs

GPNRO website

The GP career paths (YouTube) present case-study GP stories and the Choose GP section gives detailed information on choosing GP as a career path.

Choosing General Practice – Your Questions Answered – YouTube

For further support please also see the GP Career Support Hub