Life as a GP Trainee

by Rony Sanyal March 21, 2019 5 min read

Hi, I’m Rony. Welcome to this blog on the life of a first-year GP trainee. I’ll be filling you in on some insider information about the benefits of taking the general practice route. I’ll also describe some disadvantages which will give you some food for thought. I hope to achieve this by walking you through just one day in my life, so you can experience a snapshot of what it’s like. 

I wake up at 9am. Thoughts are still running through my head about the free study day I attended yesterday on common liver conditions. I had applied for a study leave the month before and it was approved almost immediately. 

Benefit 1 – you will get a lot of support with your GP training: there are many free educational events for GPs and you will get a large amount of study budget and study leave. 

I am on my accident and emergency rotation and working a 12pm till 9pm shift today.

Disadvantage 1 – It’s that I have to work an average of 42 hours a week in my current rotation and sometimes this can stretch up to 61 hours if I have a long stretch, including nights. 


I have some free time before I start my day – how many doctors can say that? I open my GP e-portfolio and begin a learning log on my reflections of the study day I attended. Yes, that’s right, we GPs love reflections.

Benefit 2 – it’s easy. Do you know why? Because you need to learn how to reflect now and you’ll continue to practice this throughout your time at medical school! It’s one of the most important techniques we teach in our interview courses. So, by the time you get to my stage, you’ll be an expert. I’ve just finished my end of year review and to pass I needed to have created around 70 reflective logs (around 2 a week). 

Disadvantage 2 – It takes discipline and creativity to create two of these 500-600 word mini-essays each week. It takes me about an hour to complete my learning log but I finish just time to make myself a satisfying brunch before work. 



Its 1.45 pm and as I walk towards the hospital I realise my second hospital rotation has almost come to an end. You are required to take part in 6-month rotations in most GP training programmes. Generally, one and a half years are spent working in hospitals and the rest of your training is spent in general practice.

Benefit 3 – This is quite clear really. In just two more years, I will be a GP. I can finish my training relatively early, whereas my colleagues will spend at least three additional years training before they become the most senior doctor in their field. 

Benefit 4 – Once I become a GP I can choose to take multiple different routes if I desire. I can work with theMSAG, take a session as a locum GP in a surgery of my choice and work part time in the A&E department to keep my hospital skills up to date. No other vocation offers you so much flexibility. This is one of the biggest attractions of working as a general practitioner in my opinion.  


Before I get to enjoy all of this, I have to complete my full time hospital posts. You will rank the specialities in which you would prefer to work in during the GP application process but your allocations will depend on your performance in GP entrance exams.

Disadvantage 3 – This element of uncertainty can be perceived as a disadvantage because you may end up with rotations which you do not favour. However, to become a proficient general practitioner, you will need some hospital experience before becoming a GP. 

I begin my shift reviewing patients and before I know it, it’s 2pm. As it’s a Thursday, I am required to attend GP teaching from 2pm till 5pm. Yes, training is included within my working hours. Like with other specialities there are also workplace based assessments and regular meetings with your educational supervisor.

Benefit 5
 – As a GP trainee, you are allocated 3 hours of teaching a week.
I return to work at 5pm and finish my shift by 9pm. When I arrive home, I am tired and hungry but in A&E, you always learn something new every day.
Disadvantage 4 – For most, the first year of GP training will feel very much like your junior doctor posts and can be frustrating. You may want to have more exposure to patients in a general practice setting and be treated like an experienced doctor, but you must wait for one additional year before you get the opportunity to do this.
As I close my eyes, I feel excited because I have almost completed my first year as a GP trainee and quickly drift into a pleasant dream about seeing patients in my own surgery one day...



It is estimated that almost half of those who graduate from medical school end up becoming GPs, but the total number of GPs in the United Kingdom is falling quickly. Why is that? Well there have always been traditional reasons such as a relatively isolated working pattern and the perception that you need to ‘know everything’ with the perpetual fear of making errors leading to complaints or litigation. 

Disadvantage 5 - The real game-changer however has been the increasing number of patients and reduced funding from NHS England which has led to a significantly greater workload for the GP workforce in primary care.If you’d like to find out more about the nature of a career as a GP, feel free to visit the NHS Health Careers or the Royal College of General Practitioners website

So, there you have it – have I managed to stir up some interest in your minds? Well, it’s never too early to start investigating these specialities in more detail. I would encourage you to talk to medical professionals at every opportunity and ask important questions such as: “What motivates you to keep training?” or “Why did you choose this specialty?” If this does intrigue you, why not set up some work experience? If you’d like more advice on this, feel free to email us.

Reflecting back it’s been a great year. I’ve picked up new skills in A&E, had the time to follow my passion for theMSAG, understood the fundamentals of the GP training programme and I’m now one year closer to becoming a GP. I hope you understand a little bit more about the world of general practice and as my story ends, I hope I have inspired you to begin your own wonderful chapter in this fascinating field. 

We hope you found this information useful in helping you get a sneak peak into a career in medicine. If you have any questions or need advice don’t hesitate to email us at



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