Your GP does much more than prescribe antibiotics and issue medical certificates – here’s a look at the scope of GP health services.
The scope of GP servicesAccording to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPs are the most common health service accessed by Australians aged over 15. In fact, eight out of ten people have seen a GP at least once in the previous 12 months, and more than one third of those people visited their GP two or three times. You probably book an appointment with your GP because you have symptoms you’re unsure about, or a specific concern about your health. It is your GP’s role to diagnose you and suggest treatment options, utilising best practice evidence, in light of your personal and individual circumstances. GPs actually help with a vast array of medical concerns, such as vaccinations, skin cancer checks, geriatric medicine, preventative health tests (like Pap smears), travel medicine, prenatal health, skin, nails and hair health, mental health, sports medicine, pain management, occupational medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, and eye and ear health. Your GP can also manage chronic health conditions – either alone or with the support of a multi-disciplinary team including medical specialists as well as allied health professionals. Some GPs even provide certain types of cosmetic medical procedures. Many medical centres also offer specialty services, including pathology, radiology, psychology, pharmacy, physiotherapy and alternative medicine. These services may be performed by practice GPs or dedicated health professionals. Many medical practices also share their premises with medical specialists and allied health professionals – making it easier for you to access a range of care options under the same roof. Over half of GPs in Australia were born overseas, If English isn’t your first language, you can use the HealthEngine directory to book an appointment with a doctor who speaks your native language. Whether it’s a local, privately-owned GP practice or a large medical centre, GP practices are family-friendly and focus on building patient rapport as well as long-term relationships. Regardless of whether you have a minor health concern or a serious health condition requiring ongoing care, your GP will strive to provide you with the best possible treatment for your long-term health.
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When you may need a referral
In some circumstances, your GP may need to see you several times before deciding that the best course of action is a referral to a medical specialist for further care. If you require care from a medical specialist, you will need a referral from your GP. A referral is a letter from your GP addressed to a particular type of medical specialist. It includes your relevant medical history and the reasons why you’re being referred to the specialist. You can easily find out which specific health services a particular medical practice offers by looking them up on HealthEngine. You can then book an appointment online and receive instant confirmation.