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CREATING YOUR CAREER - building a portfolio to suit you

The British health system has a reputation for retention of staff – staff who know that once you’re in, the benefits of staying and developing a career with the support and encouragement the organisation can offer makes it worthwhile.

Spanning a vast range of provisions and facilities, the service covers so many different areas that an employee can make huge changes in their professional life and still find an area to accommodate them.

After 14 years as a practicing doctor, GP Anuhba Sinha is still developing her career and building up her portfolio while she works at Kingshurst Medical Practice in Solihull.

Having worked in paediatrics, then as a GP, followed by a stint in academic work studying genetics before returning to general practice, Dr Sinha has a wealth of experience already, but claims that expanding that is what keeps her job interesting.

She said: “I keep all my training and qualifications up to date and I’m quite motivated that way to be able to offer a high level of service.

“I have only been working here since December but I know there are a lot of opportunities with my role now to be more involved with the CCG or with CQC visits or appraising. I’m not sure specifically what route I want to take yet, but after 14 years in practice I think you need something else as well to keep pushing yourself and to keep motivated.”

Dr Joanne Watt Senior PartnerAnother GP who has built up a varied and challenging portfolio career within the NHS is Dr Joanne Watt, based at the Great Oakley Medical Centre in Corby.

As senior doctor at the practice, Dr Watt continues her day to day GP role but has expanded several other niches alongside such as now being chair of the local CCG.

She said: “For me doing ten sessions as a GP every week was too much whereas doing four or five as I do now allows me to do a really good job and do something else with the rest of my week.

“Now I do three sessions as chair of the local CCG and another session working in sexual health. The ability to vary work like that is something we would want to support with any new recruit too.

“It keeps them fresh and interested and more practically it allows everyone to develop extra specialisms and new expertise that they can then share with colleagues so it is for the benefit of our patients and our fellow clinicians.”

Based at the Maple Access Partnership in Northampton, Dr Mark Mackenzie is another GP who has exploited the opportunities available within the system to create a niche role that he now loves.

He said: “The way the NHS works has allowed me to develop my own niche career. I have been able to get involved in training and teaching but also now split my time between the practice and the hospital which is very important to me.

“I work in particular with drugs and alcohol services and also treat patients of no fixed abode – this is what I am passionate about and creating this portfolio career of my own is just not something that would have been possible when I was working as a GP in South Africa.

“It is being in this country and being within the NHS system that has enabled me to do this.”