How to develop your portfolio GP career

Monday, January 30, 2023

Are you interested in developing your portfolio GP career, but aren’t quite sure where to begin? Have you been wondering about the benefits of this path, or what the different options available to you are? Well, look no further. Here at GP World, we have put together a comprehensive guide to all things ‘portfolio GP’, so sit back, take a read and let’s explore what this could mean for you. 

What is a portfolio GP?

Portfolio GP is a term that describes any GP who works multiple roles in their working week. Most portfolio doctors will typically have a primary – often traditional - GP role as a locum GP, GP partner or part-time salaried GP. They’ll then also work at least one additional role alongside this.   

A portfolio GP career is becoming increasingly popular with GPs as it can give you the opportunity to diversify your skills, pursue other interests and add variety into your working week. 

The benefits of becoming a portfolio GP

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at a few reasons why developing your GP portfolio career can be advantageous for you, as well as for patients and practices. 

Variety of GP roles and settings

It goes without saying that adding more than one primary role to your working week will bring with it a broad mix of patients, and the chance to practice a breadth of skills that you may not experience in a singular job.  

As a portfolio GP, the knowledge you might gain from one role may help inform your practice and decisions in another role, giving you well-rounded, robust experience and skills across a broad spectrum of specialties. Also, a consistent change in workplace settings will offer diversity day-to-day, which you may find refreshing if you prefer to mix up your working days.   

Flexibility and autonomy

We understand that achieving a good work-life balance is extremely important and valuable to most portfolio GPs. Many of the professionals we work with express that they choose this career path for autonomy, giving them freedom and choice to manage the balance between their professional and personal lives.   

By blending a mixture of roles, working hours and environments, it can allow for you to follow multiple passions outside of work too, whether that be to pursue your hobbies, or extracurriculars during normal GP practice hours, or for personal growth and fulfilment. Perhaps there is a CPD course, Specialist Interest, or a qualification you are interested in studying which you could now attend by choosing a clever blend of roles and hours. 

A GP portfolio career can also be a rewarding pursuit after retiring early from full-time employment, where you may now be seeking new challenges and fulfilment in a different phase of your life. 

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Portfolio GP opportunities

By developing a GP portfolio career, you have an array of options and career paths available to you, bringing that much-desired variety to your working life. Here, we have gathered just some of the potential opportunities that would be available to you, should you choose to become a portfolio GP… 

Prison GP

Quite a change in environment to your regular GP practice, working in a prison or secure unit can offer a world of developmental opportunities, diverse experiences, and a range of patients; you can expect to see patients presenting with drug misuse problems, mental health issues, acute illnesses, and ongoing management of chronic diseases. If safety is of a concern to you whilst considering this route, rest assured you’d normally be supported by an experienced nursing team, as well as always having highly trained prison guards nearby as a commitment to your safety when working as a prison GP.

Forensic medical examiner

Another role you could consider in your portfolio GP career is forensic medical examiner (FME). Working as an independent senior Doctor of Medicine, you would specialise in investigations of death and injury that are unusual or suspicious. You can expect deeply interesting and diverse work, including the assessment and treatment of sudden illness in custody, assessment of sexual assault victims, treatment of injuries and giving evidence in court.  

If work-life balance and variety in hours are of importance to you, this route may suit your lifestyle. Most FMEs can be on call from home, with extra fees payable for each visit to the station.  

Out of hours GP

Perhaps a change of pace from the usual 9-5 GP work attracts you? Out of hours GPs can find that seeing patients outside of the usual working hours means they are exposed to a wider variety of patients, meaning an opportunity to improve triage skills. 

You may find the evening and weekend work more suitable. This type of role is also ideal if you need to focus on studying during the day. 

You might find that you gain greater control over your shifts while working as an out-of-hours GP as they begin and end at the allocated timeslots. It also has the potential for less stressful work due to the fact you are rarely dealing with the same patient or ongoing treatments.  

Some other roles you could explore if you are considering starting your portfolio GP career are: 

  • Emergency Department GP
  • Occupational Health GP
  • Remote GP
  • Private GP

The choice is yours when it comes to considering portfolio GP work. With a world of benefits at your feet should you follow this route, GP World is here to help you take those first steps.

How to start your portfolio GP career

If you’re interested in getting your portfolio GP career off the ground, we’ve put together some questions to answer along with quick tips on how to get started. 

1. What’s your ideal working week? 

Before starting your portfolio GP career, plan out what you’d want your schedule to be and how you’d want your work to fit around other areas of your life. Being a portfolio GP can sometimes require discipline in order to maintain a good work-life balance. 

As you’re determining what your perfect working week would be, also think about what your threshold for stress and burnout is and how many days you’d want to work going forward. 

2. Where do your passions lie? 

When thinking about your career right now and what you want to achieve in the future, what do you envision? Is there variety and excitement? Is there stability and steadiness? Are you looking for more autonomy? 

Also, what are your interests? As a portfolio GP, you should be able to spend time focusing on what you are most passionate about, so try to build your future career around what you enjoy. Then, off the back of this, list out some career options that you’d be interested in.  

3. Discuss your portfolio GP goals 

Share your career aspirations with your colleagues and professional network. They may be able to impart advice and support, as well as provide contacts and bring opportunities your way.  

Portfolio GP opportunities with GP World

Are you interested in learning more about what life could look like as a portfolio GP? Our expert team is on hand to give you all the information you need to start developing your portfolio GP career. We are committed to understanding you and helping you at every stage of your journey.    

If you're not already registered with GP World, you can do this online in a few easy steps. Our expert team will then get in touch with you to talk about your goals, and how we can help you build or develop a portfolio career with your priorities in mind.  
Register today, browse our online GP job vacancies or get in touch


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