Portfolio working describes any GP who takes on multiple roles or jobs during their working week. Their primary role may be as a salaried/partnered/locum GP, however throughout their career they develop a variety to the work they do. There are a range of opportunities available to any GP interested in starting a portfolio career. The best way to explore them is to understand where your interests and strengths lie. It is also helpful to get an understanding of the needs and gaps in your own practice/PCN. Examples include, but are not limited to, fields such as:
Medical education: e.g. getting involved in medical student or foundation doctor training, working with VTS for those ultimately interested in becoming clinical or educational supervisors.
Developing a clinical interest: e.g. shadowing gynae or pain clinic to develop a higher level of competency in these specialities that can be brought to day to day practice or gaining a postgraduate qualification in a clinical area.
Leadership roles: e.g. for those interested in eventually taking on PCN director or similar roles or working within the LMC or RCGP.
Contributing to practice/PCN outcomes and embedding self into local workplace: e.g. quality improvement projects, training ANPs/pharmacists, supporting wider MDT roles.
Why portfolio working?
Those with portfolio careers often find that they really enjoy using a range of skills when working across different roles. It may be that it changes the mix of patients and colleagues that they interact with and gives individuals a chance to continue to learn and develop new skills. Often GPs report that increased variety leads to increased enjoyment and fulfilment in their clinical work and may enhance career wellbeing and longevity.
Below are some links with useful information about Portfolio Working:
0-6 months: Start looking at portfolio opportunities; Group session by Phoenix to introduce the concept; Option of creating own opportunity; Identifying PCN needs; Speaking to mentor for signposting opportunities and setting goals.
6-12 months: Commence portfolio working; Regular catch up with mentor to discuss PDP/goals
12-18 months: Ongoing portfolio working; Start thinking about reflecting on and presenting experience as the last leg of fellowship begins.
18-24 months: Integrated MDT working exposure (confident in leading part of PCN role); Embedded within portfolio role; Reflect on achievements; Graduating event – McLachlan Award.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started?
Depending on where you are in the two year timeline, it is best to get started by thinking about what interests you and how this fits in with the needs of your PCN/practice. What would you like to achieve during the duration of your portfolio working time? How will it benefit your practice and PCN? What do you enjoy and what skills/strengths can you bring? Will your project be realistically achievable in the time frame you have? We would suggest discussing these questions with your mentor.
The key to successful organisation of a portfolio working opportunity is to stay flexible, and saying yes to establish a starting point. Keep in mind that often one opportunity can lead to another. Remember, the Phoenix Programme team is here to help you make connections with the relevant people and facilitate opportunities for you.
How much time will I realistically have for portfolio working?
How much time you will have will vary depending on the number sessions you are working, as your fellowship time is allocated pro rata. Keep in mind that the other aspects of the New to Practice Fellowship, such as mentoring and CPD sessions, need to be accounted for. Therefore, be realistic about what you can achieve. You can of course expand your time voluntarily/unpaid if you would like to. Your mentor can help you set goals which are realistic to achieve in the time available to you.
Can I pursue more than one portfolio interest?
Yes! You may start by exploring one area of interest and feel that you have achieved what you set out to do or simply change your mind. We would suggest at least spending a few months embedding yourself in one topic, but then you may wish to move on to consider a different portfolio opportunity.
Is it too late if I am in the last 6 months of the fellowship timeline?
No! We would still encourage you to join and make the most of the protected time and funding available to you. We would welcome you to get in touch and speak to one of our Phoenix team who will be able to support you in getting started quickly and facilitating opportunities to get the most out of your remaining fellowship time.
How will PCN working tie in with mentorship?
Your allocated mentor will help you explore your interests and signpost you to people who can help you set up your portfolio working project. Once you are set up and running, they will continue to check in with you over the course of the fellowship. It is worth discussing the goals you want to achieve early on so that you can use the mentorship scheme to support you in achieving these.
Is there any further funding for diplomas/courses/etc?
Unfortunately there is no additional funding within the New to Practice Fellowships. However, fellows can put the funding money they receive towards any courses if they choose to. The Trailblazers Fellowships which are aimed at GPs within their first 5 years post CCT are enhanced fellowships which do have bursaries for personal development.
Please register to view all of our informative resources within the GP Phoenix Programme.