Care UK is the UK’s largest independent provider of healthcare, delivering primary and secondary care to NHS patients. They are currently looking for new GPs to join their diverse team.
Imagine a GP job that makes patients say "Wow - I didn’t know the NHS could be as good as this!" We spoke to Dr Marjorie Gillespie to find out more about the "invigorating and rewarding" career opportunities for GPs at Care UK and what makes this a different career choice from working for other general practices.
Tell me about Care UK and the work you do
We deliver more than 70 services throughout the UK, including healthcare services within prisons, 111 and out-of-hours services, walk-in and urgent care services and GP practice settings. We run 12 independent treatment centres across England for elective secondary care procedures, using the latest technology to cover a variety of specialist areas including orthopaedics, endoscopy, gynaecology and general surgery. We also have a dedicated responsible officer who oversees clinical standards and governance.
Why would a GP want to work for Care UK?
Care UK offers the chance to be a GP in a practice, in a prison, in a walk-in centre, in the out-of-hours service, in a sexual assault referral centre, on the telephone or at home. We can even combine different roles to create a bespoke portfolio job that matches your experience and ambitions. Our scheduling is flexible so we can work around your other commitments, interests or studies. We offer a range of benefits including online education opportunities, flexible working, competitive remuneration, pension and study leave. We also have other fun perks such as cycle to work and car lease schemes, childcare vouchers, and discounts on shopping, insurance and travel.
What attracted you to work for Care UK?
As a GP, I knew I wanted an interesting challenge so I took a management degree at Harvard. I joined Care UK in a management role, leading a walk-in centre and out-of-hours service – so 24/7 primary care. I really liked the challenge of providing excellent quality primary care services at a time when people were most in need. I found myself in a team of energetic, enthusiastic medical leaders who care passionately about having the innovation, drive and governance systems in place to provide safe and effective patient care and make a difference to our patients.
How does it differ from working in other general practices?
Three things make Care UK different from other GP employers: flexible working, clinical care and development. The work we do allows GPs to concentrate on providing great clinical care. The organisational, HR and business aspects are taken care of by a dynamic support team of operational colleagues. There is the chance to develop as a clinician or as a medical leader. When you want to try something new, there is the support and infrastructure to try out your proposal. We even ran a "Dragons’ Den" competition to encourage new ideas and our services have won prizes for clinical excellence. When we develop new services, our GPs are the key to designing the patient pathways.
What career progression and development opportunities do you offer GPs?
Nine in ten of our GP clinical leaders have grown up from providing front line patient services at Care UK. We offer courses in-house and externally and we can support GPs taking further education qualifications. Our prison healthcare team offers substance misuse certification and an accredited course with Lincoln University. We also sponsor NB medical hot topics courses, root cause analyses courses and human factors in medical errors courses.
What exciting projects or initiatives are you working on?
Practice Assist is our latest innovative service designed to help GP practice partners run their surgeries more effectively and efficiently by helping practices to enhance their call-handling and appointments. In 111 and out-of-hours, we want to make the patient journeys as smooth and efficient as possible. We are also looking at innovating how we use a wider team of clinicians to best help our patients and how we can use testing equipment to improve our diagnostic accuracy.
Sum up what it's like to work for Care UK
Invigorating. Rewarding. It is great hearing patients say: "Wow. I didn’t know the NHS could be like this."