05 August

Finding your first practice

You’ve finally qualified as a GP… but now what?

By Matthew Okey

Great news, after five years of study and five years (minimum) of training, you’ve finally qualified as a GP… but now what?

Finding your first practice after you’ve qualified can be a daunting prospect, a venture into the unknown made even worse if you didn’t train in the area you now want to work.

Fear not, young GPs, for Menlo Park is here to help.

We work with hundreds of newly qualifying GPs every year, speaking to well over a thousand during that time, so when we say we are specialists in helping ST3s find their first permanent position post-CCT, we mean it.

Now, as much help as we can and will provide, there are still questions you need to consider yourself when venturing out into the job market and so, with hundreds of GPs qualifying this week, we thought it a good time to post our FIVE TOP TIPS for newly qualified GPs seeking a salaried post.

1. Location, location, location

This may seem an obvious one but think long and hard on the commutable radius that is doable. You may have been in the fortunate position to train very close to home and likely won’t be afforded that luxury once you qualify if there are no suitable positions on your doorstep. If you have to travel, be realistic about what’s sustainable, not just in cost but in time too. A 45-minute drive in beautiful August sunshine may set you up nicely for the day but consider the same drive in the depths of winter when it’s dark, raining and there’s been a crash on the M5… again.

Do some test runs at different times of the day to ensure your chosen practice or area is going to be doable day in, day out.

2. Why is the practice recruiting?

This is a key question that is often overlooked by candidates but any good recruiters worth their salt will be asking this very early on in the process. There’s been many a time when a practice has looked great on paper but when we’ve asked the question and found out they are recruiting because three out of six Salaried GPs have left in six months, alarm bells start ringing.

Now, we’re not saying that a GP leaving for another practice makes the practice you’re applying to a bad one, but find out the reasons why that GP left and whether they are relevant to you at all.

3. What is the demographic?

Perhaps you’re a GP who loves working in an area of high deprivation. Perhaps you prefer a more educated, middle-class patient cohort. Whatever your preferences (if you have any), do your research on the population the practice serves, particularly if you haven’t experienced a variety of backgrounds during your training.

Going from leafy, white middle-class suburbia to a gritty, inner-city population with a high prevalence of SMH and substance abuse is not a simple transition.

4. How does the practice work?

Again, a simple-sounding one but an equally key qualification question. Say you’re a GP who gets through patients quickly and efficiently and you’ve seen a practice advertising a session template of just thirteen patients per session – attractive right? Well, maybe..
Find out the nature of those thirteen patients and how much is same-day to routine.

Perhaps they have ANPs and ACPs triaging and taking much of the quick fix, non-acute problems leaving the GPs with complex pathology after complex pathology.. all of a sudden those thirteen patients become pretty time-intensive. Might then a template with sixteen patients but three of those are follow-ups and two or three could be something straightforward like a UTI… would that session then be less intensive that the other despite the higher contacts?

Getting into detail about session template is key and will let you know what you are signing up for.

What do you want in the next 3-5 years and will the practice support that?

Perhaps you’re looking to pursue a specialism or maybe you’ve got your sights set on Partnership. Maybe you’re looking to have a portfolio or wish to get involved in teaching and training.

Of paramount importance is understanding whether your intended practice is able to support your aspirations and offer you that which makes a salaried post most attractive – longevity and security. You gain nothing from jumping from one salaried post to another.. if that is your preference you are better off locumming, but if you genuinely want to commit to a practice, develop your career and enjoy long-term prospects, putting your cards on the table at the start is a great way to ensure you’re not putting your square peg in a round hole.

Naturally, it’s virtually impossible to glean any of these answers from a job advert on the LMC and this is where Menlo Park can really help you. Our extensive knowledge of the practices we support means we can map out your key criteria and narrow down the search to perhaps two or three highly suitable practices that tick all of your boxes.

Get in touch today on 0113 350 1308 or visit www.menloparkrecruitment.com to learn more about what we do and who we work with.

Feel free to add any of your own key questions/top tips in the comments!



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