Training as a GP in Essex

As a Foundation Trainee doctor there are limitless opportunities and choices ahead of you concerning what direction to take your career in, or what specialties in which to develop. You may already have some idea of what you want the future to look like – or may be keeping your possibilities open for now – but when the time comes to explore your options, we think there are so many reasons to consider general practice and choose GP specialist training.

With a number of fantastic training locations across our beautiful county, we believe Essex is the place to be for you to live, study and work as a GP. Read on to find out more about life within general practice and the locations for undertaking GP specialist training.

Dr Olukanni

Why Should Doctors Choose Primary Care?

GPs are often the first person you’ll be in consultation with if you have a problem with your physical or mental health, and more so than doctors within a secondary care hospital environment, will take consideration of your overall health as well as any specific sickness you have on your visit.

Based within their practice, GPs are often able to offer true continuity of care and really get to know a diverse group of patients, all of ages and background, over years. It can be extremely rewarding to see your patients progress and improve over time, helping them to manage their own conditions and wellbeing, all the while knowing that you are really making a difference in their lives and in your wider community.

A GP’s role will often consist of more than patient consultations – which in itself produce variety, with patients presenting a wide range of conditions and ailments – with an ‘average week’ also including meetings, management, admin and opportunities for further training. This ability to ‘build’ a flexible and tailored working week – around your lifestyle as well as your specific areas of interest – is a significant draw to the role.

Within a GP role, you can also benefit from the autonomy afforded by multiple chances to branch out into different schemes or ways of working, to add more and more ‘strings to your bow’. Many GPs enjoy the variety and freedom of a Portfolio career, which gives the opportunity combine picking up patient sessions within their practice whilst also exploring other options such as delivering training, completing further study, managerial duties or joining a committee. You can also develop a specialism and additional qualifications in a particular area of interest, explore prospects within your local Training hub, become a GP Partner and much more.

With so many options to choose from, ways to specialise and tailor your working life to suit your needs and so much opportunity for long term development, as a GP you really are able to make your career into what you will.

Working within a GP practice also brings the undeniable reward of working within a close, multidisciplinary team where everyone’s contribution is valued. While every practice is different, across the county you will find surgeries filled with skilled professionals, from various backgrounds and specialisms, working together to provide the best possible patient care.

We believe that working within primary care can reap endless rewards – and with so many fantastic practices across the whole of our county, Essex is the place to be! Keep reading to discover why Essex is a brilliant place to come and train as a GP.

Listen to one of our Essex-based GPs talk about why she loves working in primary care, and why Essex was the place for her, in the videos below.

Why Choose Essex for your GP Specialist Training?

No matter what profession you’re in, we believe Essex is a wonderful place to live and work. Location is everything and whether you prefer living it up in a buzzing, vibrant town or would rather base yourself further out into the countryside for a more slightly more relaxed scene, Essex has it all.
Click here to read more about why.

With lots of reports of a high quality of life – with so much to do and places to visit, with London just a short train ride away – Essex has something for everyone.

Far more than just ‘the fun stuff’, when it comes to considering the essentials like high quality, affordable accommodation, schools and other amenities, our diverse county has locations to suit all types of needs and lifestyles.

We love to live and work there – and we’re not the only ones. Check out our video to find out why our primary care teams love working in Essex – and read on to find out more about our GP specialist training locations.

Our VTS Locations


Mid Essex – Chelmsford VTS
North East Essex – Colchester VTS
South East Essex – Southend VTS
South West Essex – Basildon VTS
West Essex – Harlow VTS

Mid Essex – Chelmsford VTS

Chelmsford is a prime location for those looking for a flexible, varied GP specialist training scheme within a vibrant city atmosphere. Set centrally within the county, with convenient transport links to London and major popular seaside locations, paired with the balance of a bustling town centre and surrounding park areas, Chelmsford could be a great spot for you to live and train.

GPST hospital posts are undertaken at the rapidly developing Broomfield Hospital situated just outside the centre of Chelmsford itself, offering excellent study facilities and some accommodation based on site. Based at Broomfield, specialist training posts will be taken within departments including A&E, ENT, Respiratory Medicine, Medicine for the Elderly, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry and more – there’s a wealth of exciting options to choose from.

There are opportunities for posts within 18 high standard, supportive training practices in nearby locations within central Chelmsford as well as the surrounding areas of Essex such as Great Baddow, Hatfield Peverel, Braintree, Maldon, Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch – affording you true variety in terms of the backdrop for your training.

Find out more about GP specialist training in Chelmsford.

North East Essex – Colchester VTS

Setting up in the heart of ‘Constable country’, North East Essex could be the place for you if you’re seeking a training scheme that supports your professional and personal development, helping you to aspire to excellence in a diverse and slightly more rural setting. Colchester is a busy, developing town with a wealth of history, surrounded by pretty countryside and nearby stretches of coastline boasting popular beach spots such as Clacton-on-Sea and Frinton-on-Sea.

Hospital training placements take place within either Colchester General Hospital or Clacton & District General Hospital, wherein your rotation will typically include time within the A&E, ENT, Care of the Elderly, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Oncology, Palliative Care or Psychiatry departments – giving you a lot of opportunity for variety and pursuing your particular interests.

Practice-based training in your final year will take place within one of 11 excellent, proactive GP surgeries within Colchester and in the wider Tendring area, set in smaller locales such as great Bentley, Ardleigh, Mersea Island and Brightlingsea.

Find out more about GP specialist training in Colchester.

South East Essex – Southend VTS

Offering trainees an excellent, tailored and varied scheme to broaden experience and develop essential skills under supportive team of Training Programme Directors – all set in an iconic seaside town – Southend-on-Sea could well be the place for you if you’re looking to take on GP specialist training in Essex.

Your hospital training placements take place in one of Southend’s University Hospitals within the heart of the main, and neighbouring, towns, giving you placement options in a broad range of specialities, which typically take place within 6-month rotations. Explore your interests in departments such as A&E, ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, Obs & Gyn, Oncology, Acute Medicine and Stroke Medicine to name but some.

Practice-based training takes place in one of 12 superb GP surgeries in the region affording you the chance to work under the expert guidance of a team of 25 full-time trainers and 7 associate trainers. Your final year of training will take place entirely within a practice setting, with 6 months of surgery time split across your first and second year. Practices are based in Southend itself, as well as nearby towns of Leigh-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea, Rayleigh, Rochford and Hockley – all of which benefit from being right on the coast with the capital only half an hour or so away.

Find out more about GP specialist training in Southend.

South West Essex – Basildon VTS

With great transport links to London and around the country, and a wealth of affordable options for accommodation and lifestyle, Basildon could be your ideal location for completing GP specialist training of the highest quality within a scheme that strives to work with your individual needs. The Basildon GPST scheme aims to develop trainees’ skills and knowledge comprehensively to fully enable them to provide the very best care to their future patients.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals offers trainees the chance to undertake placements in a range of departments and specialisms including Psychiatry, Stroke Medicine, Palliative Care, Paediatrics, A&E and Obstetrics & Gynaecology – so there is a variety of options to suit your specific areas of interest.

Your practice placement will be completed in one the 12 outstanding training practices situated in Basildon, Brentwood, Billericay and Thurrock, many of which have a longstanding relationship with the scheme and some that welcome multiple trainees at a time, which could be ideal for those who work best in a team environment.

Find out more about GP specialist training in Basildon.

West Essex – Harlow VTS

The West Essex GP specialist training scheme based in Harlow prides itself on being welcoming and social to cultivate a strong team spirit, ensuring trainees complete their training as skilled, knowledge and well-rounded doctors who are ready to enter general practice with sound confidence levels. Harlow is well situated with excellent connections by rail and road to London, Cambridge, and the wider Essex county.

Hospital placements comprise 18 months of total training, which will be spent at The Princess Alexandria Hospital (in the heart of Harlow town) which consistently is rated positively with its learners, who tend to report high satisfaction levels. Department options for placement include Urology, Paediatrics, Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Elderly Medicine, ENT and Accident & Emergency.

Training practices are based in the Harlow area and other towns around West Essex such as Bishop’s Stortford, Broxburne, Ongar, Epping and Loughton; many of the long-established surgeries offering training placements have done so for many years and are passionate about delivering high levels of teaching, with innovative and forward thinking approaches to achieving exceptional standards of patient care.

Find out more about GP specialist training in Harlow.

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