So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Provide vital frontline medical care to people in your community
- Lots of responsibility and long hours, but can be very well paid work
- Medical degrees can be very competitive, so you'll need to do well at school and if possible gain some experience before applying
GPs are one of the first points of contact for people needing medical attention. As a GP, you'll see patients in your surgery or possibly visit them at home.
- Make a diagnosis
- Give general advice
- Prescribe medicine
- Recommend treatment
- Carry out minor surgery
- Refer patients to specialist consultants for tests and further diagnosis
Many GPs are self-employed and have a contract as part of a clinical commissioning group (CCG). In this role you may earn more than a salaried GP. Your income will depend on the services you provide and how you run your practice.
To be GP, you'll need knowledge of medicine, dentistry, psychology and English language, customer service skills, counselling skills like active listening and a non-judgemental approach, thinking and reasoning skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, and sensitivity and understanding.
You'll need to complete a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council, a 2-year foundation course of general training, and a 3-year specialist training course in general practice. If you already have a degree in a science subject, you could take an accelerate 4-year graduate entry programme.
For a degree in medicine, you'll usually need good grades in 7 GCSEs, including sciences and English and maths, and 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry, and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject.
Medical schools may also ask you to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test or BioMedical Admissions Test to test skills you'll need on the course. It would also be expected for you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience.
After your training you'll need to join the General Medical Council GP Register, and apply for a licence to practise as a doctor.
You could move into medical work in hospitals, private healthcare, pharmaceutical companies, the police or the prison service. You could also work in education, teaching students training to be GPs.
You might also get involved in local health issues, maybe as a member of a local medical committee or clinical commissioning group.