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Career taster - occupational health

Dr Ruth Chapman continues her exploration of how else her general practice skills can be utilised in light of the lack of GP partnerships – this week she shadows a colleague who works in in a brewery

Dr Ruth Chapman continues her exploration of how else her general practice skills can be utilised in light of the lack of GP partnerships – this week she shadows a colleague who works in in a brewery

Why it's on my job menu

I am looking for a new interest and a job that pays a decent salary. In my quest I spent a day with a GP who works at a local brewery. Unfortunately the site is now dry so there was no free pint after work.

Skills/traits needed

I found there was more to the job than just medicals. Assessments for fitness to work are a large part of the work. Detective work is sometimes required when a workplace assessment is needed, for example, could certain chemicals added to the brew be causing the patient's asthma to worsen? Do they have adequate respiratory protection? You are also required to have a good working knowledge of health and safety, and employment law.

Maintaining balanced judgment is important as your patient's interests may come into conflict with those of the company that employs you both. Diplomacy and good communication skills are helpful.

Necessary training

The formal qualification – although not always required by employers – is the Diploma in Occupational Medicine (DOccMed). Courses for this exam last about two weeks and cost £1,700. You will then need to sit the exam with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians. This consists of an MCQ (fee £291), portfolio and oral component (£301), and the certificate fee is £175.

Avoid if ...

..You are looking for a high-octane challenge – there is little or no acute medicine. However, the work is interesting and more varied than I first expected. Many of the skills of a GP are directly transferable to the specialty and there are research opportunities.

Pay rate

Generally good but it depends on who you work for. My colleague was being paid £840 gross/day for one job and £89/hour for another.

Find out more

www.facoccmed.ac.uk

www.som.org.uk

job satisfaction

••• (three out of five stars)

The hours are nine to five and the pay is good so if you have a family it could be for you. This job could well suit someone with a portfolio career.

Dr Ruth Chapman works as a GP locum and is on the flexible career scheme

Dr Ruth Chapman Dr Ruth Chapman

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