Whether you’re suffering from chronic body aches, a skin condition, or sexual health problems, general practitioners (GP) are usually the first doctor you’d consult for medical assistance. As their title suggests, these healthcare experts do not focus on a particular branch of medicine, such as cardiology, rheumatology, urology, pediatrics, or ENT. Rather, their versatile skills and background allow them to detect all sorts of ailments, treat them, and counsel patients on the best course of action to regain optimal health. In that spirit, the following guide will inform you of general practitioners’ essential responsibilities, from initial consultations to administrative work.
First and foremost, the main duty of a GP is to receive or visit patients for initial consultations. They’re usually the first and nearest port of call for individuals to gain a better understanding of their affliction and know what can be done about it. As any well-trained and experienced doctors, GPs will sit down with the patients, hear them out, inquire as to their symptoms, and ask relevant questions to get a precise idea of what they’re dealing with.
After the consultation phase, typically follows an in-depth examination or auscultation. This is when the doctor takes the patient’s blood pressure and other vital signs, checks the area of concern, and conducts hand palpations to determine the condition’s scope or severity. Depending on the issue at hand, this stage may prove quite uncomfortable for some; evidently, examining a patient’s eczema on their forearms isn’t the same as checking for hemorrhoids.
Once the GP examines their patient, (s)he will be in a better position to determine the cause for concern, no matter how serious or threatening. In fact, the London-based private health specialists as Broadgate GP believe that proper diagnosis is a crucial part of re-establishing patients’ health and wellbeing. Not only can a faulty diagnosis delay the afflicted person’s remission, but it may also open a window for lawsuits and legal action. As such, whether you reside in Australia or the UK, finding a reputable and experienced practitioner is critical.
Unsurprisingly, the next logical step is treatment. With the knowledge and information, they’ll have gathered on their patient’s condition and the overall state of health, the GP will be able to prescribe adequate medications to help treat the condition effectively and durably, whether its muscle soreness, a case of sciatica, insomnia, or localized infection. This is when they’ll inform their patient on the prognosis, meaning the chance of recurrence or recovery of a disease or condition.
Health Education and Prevention
Speaking of which, a GP’s role also involves medically educating the people they consult and treat. Aside from answering questions and dispelling common misconceptions, these doctors also help patients better understand their condition by informing them on what’s causing it, the potential complications, and giving them practical lifestyle tips. Quite often, this encourages people to give up harmful practices and adopt better life hygiene.
At times, GPs will have little choice but to refer their patients to specialized practitioners for further examination or a “second look.” This is often the case with dermatological problems, diabetes, lymphoma, or infectious or hereditary diseases. It also happens that the origin of an individual’s ailment is psychosomatic, in which case they’ll recommend social and mental care professionals to treat it at the core. Lastly, GPs will refer patients to specialized surgeons and hospitals in case they require surgical intervention.
Once the patient has undergone treatment with a specialist or successfully made it through their surgery, their GP will be there alongside them on their path to recovery. If needed, they can prescribe pain-alleviating medication, conduct routine checks and bandage replacements, and monitor their vitals to ensure that the patient is recuperating as well as (s)he should.
Administrative and Management Duties
Lastly, but importantly, let’s not forget about the operational duties of GPs. These doctors usually run their own independent practices, which entails managing staff, filing important paperwork, complying with industry standards, answering to regulatory bodies, and much more. Fortunately, there are modern digital management solution to help these invaluable doctors optimize their day-to-day operations while still being present for their patients.
All things considered, there are very few things general practitioners cannot do. Other than those, they possess extensive knowledge, can diagnose and treat a wide array of physical conditions, have plenty of contacts in the medical world, and are often highly-regarded and respected in their communities. So, the next time you visit your GP for your quarterly health check, be sure to let them know how grateful you are for their professionalism and dedication!