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General practitioner

General practitioners (GPs) are doctors who treat and diagnose a variety of medical conditions.
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What does a general practitioner do?

General practitioners (GPs) are doctors who treat and diagnose a variety of medical conditions. You’re often the first port of call for sick and injured patients. You’ll need excellent communication skills as you’ll be dealing with a variety of patients, from new-born babies’ right through to the elderly.

While you’ll be a generalist, you may have special areas of interest like the treatment of childhood illnesses, mental health problems or family planning. 


What do I need to do to become a general practitioner?

You need to complete a medical degree. Entry requirements vary, but to do a five-year degree in medicine you will usually need at least five GCSEs at grades A* or A, including English and maths and at least grade B in science. You will also need a minimum of three A levels at grades AAA or AAB in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject.

If it is your first undergraduate degree, this will be five years long. If it is your second undergraduate degree, it will be four years long. You will then need to complete two years of foundation training, followed by three years of specialist GP training. You will also need to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. 


Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • People management
  • Problem solving

Academic route

  • Three A levels at grades AAA or AAB in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject.

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Business studies
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Religious studies

Essential qualifications

  • Medical degree
  • Two years of foundation training
  • Three years of specialist GP training
  • DBS check

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You’ll usually be based in a GP clinic but will also often be expected to make house calls. GPs are self-employed or members of partnerships. You may be working for private patients or NHS patients.


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