GP Working Hours: Can You Only Work 5 Hours as a GP

Many of us would like to reduce our GP working hours, whether it’s because of our family circumstances, our health, personal preference or even changing needs as we approach retirement. Whilst GP work is often considered to be a role which requires long core hours and a lot of additional working, it could now be possible to work as little as five hours a week as a GP. It may sound too good to be true for some doctors, but with more emphasis being placed on out of hours working, it could soon be a reality for many, with plenty of doctors already enjoying the benefits.

Why work 5 hours a week?

The reasons for wanting to work five hours a week are diverse. Doctors wishing to be at home with their families will be able to free up time to do so, whilst others may wish to benefit from reduced hours as they get older. Some doctors may no longer need to work such demanding hours, and rather than lose touch with the profession entirely, will still be able to enjoy practice hours – albeit without the stresses which can come with standard GP work.

Working five hours a week allows some GPs to enjoy a better work/life balance as well as enjoy the experience of a less demanding job. GPs can also feel stress and pressure within standard GP practice. The lack of set routine and regular patients which comes with the territory are elements which are reduced with out of hours work. It may suit some doctors to work an evening or weekend shift once a week, and allow them to enjoy working at times which are preferable to them.

Working Out of Hours

Doctors who work out of hours will find that there is a change of pace to the normal GP working hours. Patients seen out of hours tend to need urgent care which means that triage and referrals are a large part of the role. For those without much experience of triage, this is a great way to develop skills. Other benefits include less pressure and reduced frustration from not having to treat the same patients with ongoing needs.

By working set out of hours shifts, GPs will find that they are less likely to face overtime, ensuring better health and wellbeing for both doctors and patients. Those who work as little as five hours will be able to free up time for other activities and may prefer to volunteer or teach during this time. It also provides GPs with the opportunity to try out other jobs and business ventures, whilst being able to maintain links with the profession and with patients.

Those looking to retire can certainly benefit from working out of hours. The reduction in hours ensures more opportunities to relax and make time for hobbies and other interests, whilst also being able to remain an active doctor. Working a few hours a week can be beneficial for older individuals, ensuring that learned skills can continue to be used.

A five-hour working week certainly does have its appeal for a range of individuals, helping to provide more relaxed, tailored schedules for doctors. Working in this way can lead to greater job satisfaction, and even with a reduction in hours, GPs can still maintain a connection to their work.

If you’re thinking about embarking on an out of hours GP career with East Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours Services, our current doctors will be more than happy to discuss the realities of out of hours GP working with you. For any questions about out of hours GPs, head to our contact us page.