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General practice (GP)

General practitioners (GPs) treat patients with a variety of common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. They focus on the health of the whole person combining physical, psychological and social aspects of care.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine, MBBS. 2 years foundation doctor training, run-through 3 years specialists training (ST1 – ST3) leading to Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP). Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Doctors may work up to 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. Pay scales (2016): Salaried GPs earn between £55,965 and £84,543. GPs who are run their own practices will usually earn more.

Desirable skills and values

Ability to apply clinical skills; management in physical, psychological and social terms. Able to diagnose and manage multiple diseases and problems. Excellent communication skills and team working. Ability to asses risk; good management of time and take initiative in highly pressurised and emotive situations. Capable of making judgments; handling uncertainty of clinical presentations and management capabilities including managing change. An expert generalist with an extensive knowledge of a wide range of conditions.


There were 36,000 GPs in England in 2014. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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