Think back to when you were applying for medical school, full of hope for the years to come. Think back to all that followed: the late-night studying, the long weekends, the scrubs smattered with bodily fluids. For most of us, it was a sense of hope that kept us going. However, we all have days when that hope feels stifled. Days when we are acutely aware of the increasing demand, days when we feel we have short-changed our patients due to factors outside our control, and days when we look at the senior GPs around us, and know deep down that we are not willing to consecrate ourselves to our work in quite the same way.

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A podcast about big ideas in health and care. We talk with experts from The King’s Fund and beyond about the NHS, social care, and all things health policy and leadership. New episodes monthly.


Blog: September 2020

Will Owen (GP trainee and Next Gen GP leader) reflects on developing a 'portfolio career' as a trainee.

Will OwenI recently had the slightly surreal pleasure of being asked to share a few thoughts on setting up a ‘portfolio career’ for a short article in the BMJ. To be honest I’d never really made time to think about it before but it was a useful exercise! Here are a few things I've learnt so far....


For the last 2 years I’ve split my week between GP training, work as a paediatric specialty doctor, helping lead Next Gen GP, and spending a day each week with my 2 year-old daughter. Creating a varied ‘portfolio career’ was one of the reasons general practice appealed to me so much, and I’ve not been disappointed… I’ve unexpectedly found that I have more energy through my working week and a greater appreciation for my clinical time with colleagues and patients. It also, inevitably, comes with added complexity; at times developing a portfolio career has felt like spinning lots of plates – and I’ve certainly dropped a few.

David Haslam

“What do you wish you had done differently?” It’s such a great question, and a challenge that I was asked at one memorable Next Generation GP evening. It really set me thinking.

Outside medicine the answers are relatively simple. The one that really bugs me is that I wish I had fitted a loft ladder in the house where we lived for 36 years, but which I put off for year after year because it didn’t seem worth the hassle. At least once a week I had to use a wobbly step ladder which chipped bits off the ceiling, scratched the landing wallpaper, and involved hazardous balancing to retrieve whatever I needed from the attic. I’ve just calculated that I must have gone up into the loft well over 1500 times, but “it didn’t seem worth it”. Trivial annoying inefficiencies build up. Sort them out now.

Emma GrenellLeaders, in my opinion, have always been easy to spot- even as a child. They shot their hands up in lessons, they were the ones out on the dancefloor first, the team captains, the debate queens…They were loud, confident and always popular.
As a child, I was happy, and still am happiest, surrounded by like-minded people, dissecting the world and trying to find our place in it. I read incessantly, have lots of friends, and have always over-filled my days with too much stuff. I’m enthusiastic, passionate, and curious. Fabulous qualities- if I was interviewing for a place as a ‘BFF’. But not worthy of leadership status, surely?
I didn’t fit my pre-conceived mould of a leader. I couldn’t see myself in those roles, so I never went for them.
So, what the heck was I doing on a leadership programme?
If you, like me, have been left feeling like leadership is a sky rocket dream, BUT still have this unwavering little voice inside of you willing better things into the world, then please read on.
What does it mean to be a leader? Who are the great leaders of the world? What do they look like? Is that me? These were the questions I was hoping to answer by joining Next Gen GP.

Nish Manek is a GP trainee. She is also, for this year, on the prestigious National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow scheme – which is designed to fast track doctors in training “…who present with the clearest potential to develop as medical leaders of the future”. In this role she is spending 12 months working alongside Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care. In this podcast Nish eloquently and enthusiastically advocates for general practice as a career and outlines her hopes and expectations for the future. She explains the benefits of being on the Clinical Fellow scheme and talks about Next Generation GP, the programme she has co-developed for aspiring leaders in general practice.


Episode 6 features Dr Nish Manek, a Cambridge GP and National Medical Directors Clinical Fellow who tells us about Next Generation GP, an unconventional programme of leadership training for future NHS leaders that is inspiring early career GPs to innovate.


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Being a GP trainee provides an exciting time. It’s when many learn how diverse the life of a GP can be, as it’s one of the few jobs that give the flexibility to do other things alongside your career.

We sat down with Nish Manek, GP registrar at Trumpington St Medical Practice, who shared with us what it was like to be a National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow at NHS England, and how that led to her starting the ‘Next Generation GP' programme.

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