Shadowing a DoctorAugust 16, 2012
The road to becoming a doctor is long and hard. Five or six years of medical school training is followed by several foundation years of practice before a doctor is qualified to become a general practitioner (GP). All this training involves a lot of hard work and exceptionally difficult, requiring a lot of dedication. Junior doctors also work long hours in challenging surroundings. However, after all this hard work, becoming a GP is incredibly rewarding, not just because of the job satisfaction, but also in the remuneration packages offered to doctors in general practice.
For newly qualified doctors just out of medical school, salaries are not particularly spectacular. This is because doctors are still in training, but typically, a junior doctor working in their first foundation year after leaving medical school earns a basic salary of around £22,000-£23,000. This increases in year two by a further £5,000.
However, junior doctors also receive supplements to their basic salary based on the number of hours they work, the shifts they do such as working at night, and the intensity of the work they are doing such as working in a busy accident and emergency unit.
Once a junior doctor has completed two foundation years and they wish to become a GP, they have to further train for general practice. During this time, they typically earn a salary of just under £30,000 with additional supplements for working out of hours or beyond 40 hours a week.
Once a doctor becomes a fully qualified GP, they have a choice of either working directly for a PCT (primary care trust), in which case they are salaried, or become a contracted GP, in other words, self-employed. For GPs employed directly by PCTs, typical salaries range from £50,000 to £80,000 per year, with additional supplements for out of hours and overtime.
Most GPs become independent and self employed and work under contract for the NHS. For these doctors, pay varies depending on the services they provide. Many doctors become partners in surgeries with other GPs and share the costs and profits of the surgery between them. Depending on the success of the surgery, and whether a doctor is a junior or senior partner, self-employed doctors can earn anything from £50,000 a year, to in excess of £100,000 a year.
It is not unheard of for some GPs to earn even greater amounts, especially those that do consultancy work, offer large number of services or hold lots of NHS contracts.
Some GPs chose to become private practitioners. In these cases, the NHS does not pay the GPs, as the doctors charge their patients directly. Private GPs, especially those in places such as Harley Street, can earn huge amounts of money from wealthy private clients willing to pay for private treatments. However, private practice GPs still have to abide by the same rules and require the same registration and qualifications as those that work in the NHS.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.