What is a General Practitioner?

A general practitioner (GP) is a physician skilled in recognising and diagnosing any medical condition and is the first point of call for most patients.

Because of changes to the healthcare system, and the resulting need for more professionals to take up general practitioner jobs, the number of training places is increasing. So much so that it’s estimated that 50% of all future specialty training places will be in the field of general practice.

A GP will mostly find themselves working in a surgery or undertaking home visits, carrying out consultations with patients and dealing with problems that can be physical, psychological or social in nature. They could be diagnosing schizophrenia or diabetes or advising on pregnancy from one patient to the next, so they need to be extremely knowledgeable in all medical conditions and areas of healthcare.

General practitioners’ jobs involve assessing problems before advising the correct course of action to help the problem. Alongside treating illnesses, other tasks may include arranging patients’ onward support with other health professionals, keeping patients’ records and organising clinics for patient groups. 

To qualify for GP jobs, candidates should hold a degree in medicine that is recognised by the General Medical Council, a foundation course of general training and specialist training in general practice. As well as the qualifications and experience, a general practitioner will need to be both caring, committed, and able to work co-operatively within a team as well as on their own.