10 tips for newly-qualified GPs

Medical Protection medicolegal adviser and GP Dr Rachel Birch shares her top tips for transitioning from junior doctor to qualified GP.

Finishing GP training can be an exciting time – no more exams and you’re finally able to practise independently. However, some newly qualified GPs can find that the relief and exhilaration of completing their training is quickly replaced with uncertainty. The comfort of being a trainee has gone and even after a new GP has found work, they may still experience a sense of unease.

The following top ten tips provide practical advice on how to survive that first important job after GP qualification:

1. Becoming a qualified GP is a commitment to lifelong learning - you are not suddenly expected to know everything. However, ensure that you 'know what you don’t know' and identify ways to develop your knowledge and learn from cases.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask. Although you are no longer a trainee, your more experienced colleagues will appreciate that you are still junior in your career. Seeking advice early on will pay dividends in the long run.

3. The receptionists should become your best friends. They are a wealth of knowledge on the local area and practice processes and are likely to offer support and encouragement in those first few weeks.

4. Ask to review the practice’s induction pack before you start, either on paper or electronically. Familiarising yourself with the way the practice runs and how it interacts with secondary care is essential.

5. Find a formal or informal support group. Some newly-qualified GPs can find the loss of peer support groups difficult and isolating. You may like to try to meet your GP colleagues for coffee at the end of a busy surgery.

6. Ensure you are on the performers list. After you complete your training, you will be unable to work as a GP until you are formally on the NHS performers list. It is therefore important to send your performers list application in early and ensure you receive confirmation that your name is on the list before you are ready to start work.

7. Contact the GMC to be allocated a revalidation date. You will also need to discuss with them who your responsible officer for revalidation will be.

8. Arrange to have your first appraisal between nine and 15 months after receipt of your Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). Contact your local appraisal lead to organise this and start collecting evidence for appraisal. 

9. Keep on top of your referrals and paperwork. You may find you have more paperwork than in your previous role, including for example, insurance reports and medicals. Do not allow a backlog to build up as this will also build stress.

10. Ensure you have adequate indemnity. The GMC made it a statutory requirement for all doctors to have appropriate indemnity or insurance arrangements from August 2015. The type and level of indemnity required will depend on where you work, whether you are employed or self-employed, and the type of work you do, so it is a good idea to contact your medical defence organisation as soon as possible to ensure that you have appropriate professional protection for your new role.

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