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GP Careers in the 21st Century: A Final Year Student Perspective

The “GP Careers in the 21st Century conference” was a full day event that took place on Wednesday 9 th September at Imperial College, London. The title of the conference interested me. I realised I knew much about the structure of family practices in the past, and I am aware that general practice is going through a lot of changes currently, but I felt I knew very little about the details of a career in general practice in the future.

My family GP was a grandmother, a practice partner and looked after three generations of my family. She had a wonderful work-life balance, autonomy over her work and seamless continuity of patient care. However, studying in fast-paced London and living through the ever changing climate of healthcare delivery, I worry that these attributes of the career are being eroded. Given the changes of upscaling practices, the bureaucracy of QOF targets that need to be met and the ever real threat of a significant pay-cut, could general practice really be a fulfilling career? The conference more than reassured me of this.

A series of talks were delivered over the day by speakers who were genuinely welcoming, friendly and full of humour. All of the talks reminded me that a career in general practice is so rich in options. There is so much opportunity to nurture our individual interests and combine that with providing world class primary healthcare for our patients. I was particularly interested to learn about portfolio GPs (or “slashers” as they were referred to). This confirmed for me that GPs are still able to carve out our own career pathways and are able to autonomously combine teaching, research and clinic practice. Not only that, but in the current climate of an expanding, rapidly changing primary care service, GPs are at the forefront. As was pointed out by Dr James Cavanagh the NHS was created on 5 th July 1948 and ever since 6th July 1948 people have been worrying about its demise! Instead of worrying about this change, we should embrace it, contribute to it and lead change. It is after all inevitable.

Overall, the conference was a very important and positive experience. I have come away realising that many opportunities are serendipitous and as was repeated throughout the conference, it is important to say “yes” with the caveat of “I’ll think about it”. Surrounded by supportive, enthusiastic future colleagues, I feel ever passionate about a career in general practice and excited about what the future of healthcare provision holds, with GPs leading the way.


Azeem Majeed said…
Thank you for your article Mandeep.

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