Fulfilled and valued as an employed GP: what good looks like

by Paula Wright

The BMA has released a guide for doctors on how best to get the most out of their careers

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 29 September 2021
telemedicine, GPs, covid-19

As a salaried GP, you have chosen to exercise your specialism without becoming an employer or business owner. The choice can be based on many motivations, and salaried posts vary immensely, from purely clinical roles to a salaried role with significant managerial and leadership responsibility.

However, if a salaried GP’s role is not offering the GP what they seek – whether it is clear work boundaries for work-life balance, or career development and leadership opportunities – it is highly unlikely the NHS will be able to retain them. Misunderstanding about roles, and mismatched expectations between the employee and employer, are not conducive to a fulfilling and harmonious working relationship.

To ensure salaried GPs do not feel exploited, peripheral, like second-class members of staff, or unfulfilled, necessitates employers to look beyond contractual requirements and to collaborate with their GPs. Our guide seeks to outline good practice in creating a successful salaried GP role and employment relationship.

From your views and opinions being sought and respected, to your career development being supported, these non-contractual elements of your work environment are essential. They help to create an environment in which you feel valued, enthused, and able to do your best. Remember, your employer wants to keep you motivated and wants to retain you – happy employees add more value and are more productive.

Furthermore, the UK needs more GPs, and all too often salaried GPs resign from their roles or retire from general practice altogether, rather than trying to solve the problems identified here.

It is important to recognise what good practice from your employer should look like, to identify how your current situation compares. Where necessary, this will empower you to highlight to your employer how they can improve your experience of salaried GP employment. Do you recognise your work environment in the descriptions given? If so, then you likely have a supportive and exemplary workplace. Your organisation is likely to be gaining maximal benefit from you and will be enabled to retain you long term in this fulfilling role!

However, it is more likely – given the experiences we have heard from members across the country – that you will find yourself with a mix of good and less positive experiences.

Our guide gives recommendations for improving your experience, and how to approach conversations with your employer. You can also refer to guidance on:

For individual support and advice, you can also speak to a BMA adviser or contact your LMC (local medical committee), or the BMA sessional GPs committee at [email protected]

Paula Wright is a sessional GPs committee member