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The Portfolio GP – An Introduction

Portfolio general practitioners (GP) are on the rise but it’s traditionally a little talked about or explored professional route. Being a doctor is no longer confined to working in a medical practice and in-clinic  is increasingly seen as only one element of a working week. Nowadays, it is common for GPs to pursue other interests alongside clinical work. The possibilities are limitless with medical education, management, media, technology, or research work being just a few of the areas that GPs develop portfolio careers in.

 

Adding variety through a portfolio career can present doctors with new challenges, enrich their skillset, and allow them to grow professionally. Often, the different roles will reciprocally complement one another, keeping doctors refreshed both in their clinical work and in other agencies. Not only can a portfolio career provide stimulation and job satisfaction, but it can also mitigate the risk of burnout.

 

It goes without saying that being a doctor comes with immense responsibility, pressures and stress. Demands on GPs are continually escalating, with an increase in workload, complexity, and intensity of consultations. Therefore, not surprisingly, burnout rates among doctors are rising [1] and the NHS is losing GPs at a rather alarming rate. Latest figures reveal that the GP workforce has fallen by 4% between March 2016 and March 2018 [2].

 

Against a backdrop of a declining GP workforce, portfolio careers may help to reshape the profession, expanding and retaining current GPs in the NHS. Indeed, a nationwide survey of GP trainees last year showed that 15% chose general practice with the option of having a portfolio career [3]. It also found that almost a third of trainees intended to have other roles at five years after qualifying, with 20% expecting to have a partnership role as part of their portfolio career [3]. These findings suggest that with an ever-changing landscape, newer generations of GPs are open to modernising traditional models by diversifying their careers, while still keeping a hand in general practice.

 

We set out to interview portfolio GPs to understand how they stepped beyond a conventional medical career pathway,  and ultimately how leading a varied and satisfying portfolio career is re-enthusing them to remain in the NHS.

These interviews will be published weekly.

 

References

[1] Lamaire, J. and Wallace, J. (2017). Burnout among doctors. BMJ 2017;358:j3360.

[2] Bostock, N. (2018). GP workforce falls 4% in two years as shortage continues to grow. [online] GPonline.com.

[3] Kaffash, J. (2017). Beyond partnership: how trainees will reshape the profession. [online] Pulse Today.

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