Your general practitioner is your first point of contact if you have a health concern or illness. Also known as physicians or medical doctors, general practitioners are qualified to treat a broad variety of medical and health-related issues. In the event that you do require specialised medical attention, your GP will make the necessary referral to a specialist. Let’s take a closer look at the services that a general practice offers.
What Is A General Practitioner?
A GP has completed his or her general training in general practice areas. This means they have a broad range of knowledge to assist you with the management of most of the health issues you could encounter in your lifetime. GPs have a medical degree and have completed their medical internship. They are then required to complete additional medical training.
Remember, you can’t get a Medicare rebate if you visit a specialist first – you must visit your GP practice to make the appropriate referral.
How Can A General Practice Help You?
Diagnosis And Treatment For The Family
GPs are qualified to make general diagnoses and treat a variety of ailments for the whole family. Sometimes GP doctors are referred to as family doctors or family practices because they offer health-related services for everyone from babies to older people.
Any mild illness or discomfort you experience can be reported to your GP first. If you experience a medical emergency you should rather make your way to the nearest hospital or clinic, or call an ambulance.
Medical And Health Check-Ups
Screening check-ups, tests and evaluations can be performed at your general practitioner’s practice. Blood pressure, pulse, weight, urine testing and diabetes testing can all be performed in your GP’s office.
If you require specialised tests, GP doctors will request them from the relevant clinic or specialist service and report the results back to you.
It’s a good idea to have health assessments performed at regular intervals in your life. These assessments can give you insight into your physical, mental, sexual and general wellbeing, and may help you to lead a healthier life. Your family doctor will explain which health assessments are relevant to your age and health status.
Health And Nutrition Advice
A general practice is also well qualified to assist you with the health and nutritional advice you need to stay healthy. If you need assistance with an eating plan to lose weight or input on an exercise programme your general practitioner is the best place to start.
Any prescriptions that you may need for the treatment of medical conditions can be obtained from your GP. This can be for isolated treatments or as part of chronic condition management.
At Sirius Health we are proud to offer our patients a comprehensive diabetes management service, including lifestyle and nutritional support. We also offer our patients a Diabetes Risk Assessment to assist with early intervention and treatment.
If you are working with a team of medical professionals, your GP doctor will be the person who manages everyone and ensures that your treatment goals are achieved.
Antenatal Care and Women’s Health
Most general practices can assist pregnant women during their antenatal period, ensuring they receive the relevant nutrition and lifestyle advice, as well as providing monthly or weekly check-ups on their growing babies.
Once the baby has been born, a family doctor can assist the new mom adapt to her role, and provide her with supporting care for herself, baby and wider family. If required the general practice will make a referral to a paediatrician or breastfeeding councillor.
At Sirius Health we provide care on all matters related to women’s health, including cervical screening (PAP smears).
We can also assist our patients with family planning and contraceptive strategies.
Routine And Travel Vaccinations
Your GP is the first point of contact to help you stay healthy against harmful diseases. Vaccinations can be given on schedule for childhood diseases like mumps, whooping cough, measles, rubella and hepatitis B.
At Sirius Health we also provide travel and other vaccinations such as the flu shot, tetanus and yellow fever.
Ideally, your GP or family doctor acts as on point of contact for your family’s broader medical needs over the course of their lifetime.
How To Choose A General Practice?
Your GP doctor should be someone you feel comfortable enough to discuss any health matters with. Your GP should, therefore, be approachable and easy to talk to. That means they should be good at listening, and enable you to speak honestly and openly. You should be able to consider your doctor in authority, and as a leader, and feel comfortable that he or she is managing your health.
Community and word-of-mouth referrals are always a good place to start because they mean the general practice has a good track record in your community.
Also consider practical matters like proximity to your home or office, and hours that are practical for your lifestyle. Some general practices may offer home visits or after-hours services, which is especially useful if you work late.
Factors like whether the general practice operates in more than one language or whether there are male and female practitioners may also influence your decision-making process.
Ultimately your chosen GP must be someone that you feel completely comfortable with for the long term. Ideally, you want to be cared for by the same person for as long as possible, to ensure continuity of care.
Unsure whether a general practitioner can assist with your healthcare concern? Please contact us for the relevant advice: (02) 9159 6903.