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My job explained: GP

Variety is the spice of Chris Hee’s job as a GP. Read on to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I work in a community GP practice. My job is to prevent diseases, reassure patients and prescribe medicines. I also do home visits. A GP is most people’s first point-of-call with the NHS, and we decide if patients if more serious conditions need to be referred to a hospital.

What qualifications and training do you have?

I have a degree after five years at medical school. I then did a one year internship as a junior doctor, before doing five years as a trainee surgeon. But then I decided to change direction and become a GP, which took three more years of training.

What was the training like?

It was very hard work but very good. It’s also very diverse and I did placements in A&E, psychiatry, medicine and as a GP. You’re continuously assessed – I had a mentor and had to write three monthly reports as well as doing clinical and written exams.

What other skills do you need?

You need to be really good with people and be able to empathise with their problems. You also need to be efficient and keep up-to-date with current treatment guidelines.

Why did you choose to be a GP?

I wanted closer interaction with patients. I like the fact that – unlike a lot of hospital doctors – you get to see patients all the way through their treatments and can review them months later.

What’s a typical working day like?

I start at 8.30am and will see about 20 patients before lunchtime. I normally have a lot of meetings and paperwork to do at lunch, such as making sure we’re meeting our targets in the QOF (Quality Outcome Framework), which measures each practice’s performance. Then I’ll see more patients between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. I might also do five or so home visits.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love the variety – you might see 40 patients with 40 completely different problems in a day – and its great helping people to improve their lives. It also pays well and there’s good job security.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

You do get people who try to abuse the system by asking for things like sick notes when they’re able to work. Also, some patients don’t listen to you – and some can be just rude!

What advice would you have for anyone who wants to be a GP?

It’s a very good career but it’s very hard. A lot of doctors think GPs don’t really do very much but it’s literally non-stop because even when you’re not at the practice you have to constantly read up on new treatments and guidelines at home. So try and spend some time or get some work experience at a practice so you can see what it’s really like.

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