Job descriptions and industry overviews


24 Feb 2023, 15:17

Provides confidential patient consultations and initial medical care within a community-based setting.

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Medical doctors apply medical knowledge and skills to the diagnosis, prevention and management of human diseases, disorders and injuries.

General practitioners are medical graduates who give personal, primary and continuing care to individuals, families and a practice population, irrespective of age, gender and illness.

Work activities

  • Attending patients mainly in consulting rooms and in patients' homes
  • Integrating physical, psychological and social factors in their considerations about health and illness
  • Making an initial diagnosis about problems presented to them
  • Undertaking the continuing treatment of patients with chronic, recurrent or terminal illness
  • Using equipment such as blood pressure monitors and stethoscopes in diagnosis and therapy
  • Devising procedures for patients' treatment and prescribing medicines
  • Keeping abreast of the latest medical information
  • Referring patients to specialist consultants when appropriate.

Work conditions

Travel: can be a feature of the job.
Working hours: can be unsocial, including evenings and weekends.
Location: opportunities exist mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: may practice on their own or in partnership with one or more colleagues.

Typical employers

Private practices and clinics, state departments, college health services.


Income for GPs will depend on the size of the practice.

Entry requirements

A multi-streamed entry model now exists with students being accepted into medical education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Undergraduate: Entry to undergraduate medicine requires a minimum of 480 points and meeting the minimum entry requirements for each medical school for which candidates have applied (these must both be achieved in the same sitting of the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination, or equivalent).

In addition, the Health Professions Admission Test-Ireland (HPAT) forms part of the current admissions process. The test measures a candidate's logical reasoning and problem-solving skills as well as non-verbal reasoning and the ability to understand the thoughts, behaviour and/or intentions of people. It does not test academic knowledge and candidates do not require special understanding of any academic discipline.

Postgraduate: A four-year postgraduate programme in medicine is available at a number of Irish universities for graduates with a minimum of 2.1 (Level 8) degree in any subject. For candidates who meet this requirement, the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) will then be used as the sole instrument to select students for the programme.

Specific degree subjects required


Other relevant degree subjects

Mainly life-science disciplines for postgraduate entry.

Postgraduate study

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) offer a four-year full-time general practice training post in one of the 14 GP training programmes for doctors who have temporary or full registration with the Irish Medical Council. The certification of completion of training in general practice allows a GP to work within all state schemes, both in Ireland and in each EEA country.

In addition, the ICGP regularly run training in areas such as drug treatment, family planning, helping patients with alcohol problems, women's health, etc.

Specific entry requirements

Medical practitioners wishing to practise medicine in Ireland are required by law to be registered with the Medical Council. All doctors must have adequate professional indemnity insurance for the work they perform.


The Intern Year is a period of transition from medical student to full registration as a doctor. It is recognised as the first level of postgraduate medical training and is an essential step in every doctor's career as it provides medical graduates the opportunity to experience the reality of patient care in a range of healthcare settings. The Intern Year provides a combination of education, training and clinical responsibility, enabling interns to develop the professional and personal competencies that result in good patient care and provide a foundation for lifelong learning.

Successful completion of the Intern Year leads to the award, by the Medical Council, of a Certificate of Experience. This Certificate is required for eligibility to apply to the trainee specialist division or general division of the Register of Medical Practitioners maintained by the Medical Council and, therefore, to proceed with a medical career in the Irish health service.

Good quality patient care requires each medical practitioner to continuously participate in learning activities. Under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, doctors are required to engage in ongoing professional competence schemes relevant to their practice and demonstrate to the Medical Council that they are maintaining their skills in their clinical practice.

Skills and qualities

  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to collaborate with colleagues, families, etc
  • Awareness and appreciation of the patient and the ability to empathise with and treat others with dignity and respect
  • An awareness of patient safety at all times
  • An interest in others and their wellbeing
  • Emotional balance, patience, tact and calm
  • Ability to work fast, accurately and make quick decisions.

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