Role Info - GPs

General Practitioner Role Information

General Practitioners (GPs) treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. They focus on the health of the whole person combining physical, psychological and social aspects of care. GPs in the UK are registered with the in General Medical Council (GMC) and hold specialist registration in order to work as a General Practitioner in General Practice.

Primarily based in GP surgeries and the community, GPs are part of a much wider team whose role includes promoting, preventing and initiating treatment. GPs look after patients with chronic illness, with the aim to keep people in their own homes and ensuring they are as well as they possibly can be. 

GPs are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem and patients can be at their most anxious. Looking after the whole person - the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, cultural and economic aspects through patient-centred approaches is a vital part of any GP’s role. This is becoming more important with terminally ill patients often choosing to stay at home.


GPs may work for an NHS, or independent employer, or self employed as an independent practitioner. The training for a Doctor takes many years, following initial foundation stages of training a junior doctor will undertake specialist training and be a GPST – specialty registrar in general practice. Following training as a Junior Doctor, after several years of further study and exams GPs are classed as senior doctors that have completed full training in general medicine. They can practice independently without supervision, and will supervise GPs in training.  

As with medical consultants, GPs are required to pursue ongoing education during their careers in general medicine through the CPD system. All qualified GPs are listed on the GMC’s GP register. 

Some GP doctors have a GPwSI (GP with a special interest) accreditation, which supplements their role as a generalist to provide an extra area of specialist knowledge. 

Common procedures/interventions consulted by a GP 

 Performing clinical examinations of patients to assess, diagnose and monitor a patient’s condition. These are wide-ranging and may involve the use of specialist equipment such as a stethoscope or otoscope (an instrument for examining the ear). 

Carrying out tests within the surgery such as urine sample testing to assist with diagnosis.

Interpreting findings from investigations such as blood tests to help reach a diagnosis 

Using basic life support skills and emergency procedures such as defibrillation where necessary 

The work can vary depending on whether you are a GP partner or a salaried GP.

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