Ten things partners get wrong when recruiting new GPs

Written by: Dr Tom Nolan
Published on: 17 Jun 2015


It’s a difficult time to be taking on a new GP. Vacancy rates have quadrupled over the last two years. One in five posts are taking over a year to fill. Training schemes are undersubscribed and although they are churning out some great GPs, there aren’t enough to go round. With practices having to compete fiercely, simply placing an advert online or in a journal often isn’t enough to get the applications coming in. New GPs are in a strong position and if you don’t make the right impression they’ll look elsewhere. Here are some of the reasons they get put off.


1 The pay isn’t competitive

Your applicants will be asking their friends what the going rate is locally, so you need to have your ear to the ground as well. Then you might have to adjust this up or down depending on the demands of the job and local jobs market. A high intensity job in a deprived area with mountains of paperwork may need to be well remunerated. Most of us won’t mind a more modest salary for a job at a cosy family practice with 15 minute appointments where everyone has lunch together and leaves on time.


2 The practice’s NHS Choices reviews are poor

NHS Choices reviews may be about as representative as a YouGov poll, but everyone still looks at them. A couple of recent positive reviews could make all the difference. Next time one of your regulars thanks you for your years of patience, listening and understanding don’t just usher them out of the door so you can call your next patient: ask them to say it on NHS Choices.


3 The working day sucks

‘Most of us get in before eight to catch up on emails and referrals from the day before. Then we’re consulting from 9am until 12.30pm, often later as they add on extras. Afternoon surgery is from 2pm ‘til 5 so I usually do any urgent jobs before my home visit and eat my lunch in the car. After 5pm (or 5.30pm, realistically, as I always over-run), there’s telephone calls, results, and letters. On a good day I’m out by 7.30pm. So it’s hard work but all the receptionists are really nice.’

When your applicant hears this from one of your other GPs they’re going to run a mile. Giving protected admin time, longer appointment slots or shorter clinics might just sound like ways to lose money but you’ll get a more motivated and effective member of the team who will want to stay with you long term.


4 You asked when I planned to have a baby

It’s illegal to ask a person this during a job interview, although it’s not against the law to think it.

Rather than seeing a newlywed newly qualified female GP as a series of disruptive maternity leaves, focus on her skills rather than her personal life, and assume they will be keen to work at your practice for as long as you support them.


5 The job advert reads like you’re recruiting for MI5

Why are some practices so evasive about themselves in adverts, giving only a vague indication of their whereabouts and an NHS.net email address to contact? Even MI5 advertise openly these days.


This article was originally published on Pulse Today.

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