So what do GPs do exactly? And why should you have a regular GP?
In a nutshell, a GP is usually your first port of call in the health system if you are sick or looking for health advice. GPs play important roles both in your healthcare and in the health system. We provide health advice and treatment. If you need further treatment or tests, we co-ordinate this for you – we may be able to provide this for you or someone else in our team can, such as our practice nurse or another GP in our practice.
If necessary we can refer you to a specialist or to an allied health professional such as a physiotherapist, dietician or psychologist. And we liaise with these professionals on your behalf.
Don’t Wait Until You’re Sick!
We don’t just treat illness. We like to prevent it too. So we are able to give you advice on things like diet, exercise, healthy living and disease prevention. We can do check ups looking for early warning signs, or to give you a clean bill of health! If it’s been a while since you last had your blood pressure checked, or those moles looked at (just to name a few of the things we can check for), then there’s no time like the present.
- So why should you see one of us here at GPC? Why do we think it’s a good idea for you to have a regular GP in your life? You may have been blessed with a healthy disposition and got by with just popping into the nearest 24 hour medical centre for the odd head cold or medical certificate. Maybe you sprained your ankle, cut your finger or just needed a quick Hep A shot for Bali.
- Well, there are a number of reasons why it’s healthy to have a regular GP who knows you; you never know when you might need one! Seeing the same doctor, or at least the same one or two doctors in the same practice, has actually been shown, in scientific studies, to improve your health. Seeing someone who knows you, can actually save you time as well – no more going over the same story again and again as you try to get to the bottom of that mysterious symptom- a GP who knows the background story already is much more likely to be able to put everything together and come up with a diagnosis and get on with recommending a treatment plan.
- And don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s OK to pop into the local 24 hour bulk-billing clinic for the “simple” stuff and use your regular GP for the “real” stuff. What if you think its simple but it isn’t? A GP who knows you is much more likely to pick up on more subtle clues that might indicate a more serious problem, or at the very least offer you a quick check of your blood pressure (just as an example). It’s not good for your health in the long run to have different GPs for different problems – choose one practice and let us get to know you.
- What if something serious came up, like a really sore back, a nasty cough that was hanging around, a horrible rash or feeling anxious and depressed all the time? Wouldn’t it be better to see someone who already knew your name, date of birth and medical history? Someone who already knew what treatments you had tried, what your life was like that might explain the stress you were feeling? Trying to find a good GP in a good practice when you are really up against it can be tough. You might find that they aren’t seeing new patients because they’re books are full. You might find the receptionist can’t get you into a “new patient slot” soon enough for you. You don’t know where to park, how long you might have to wait, whether they are the right GP for you anyway.
- All these things are so much simpler if you have already found a GP, maybe for a check up just to make sure everything is in tip top shape. You will already have started on that all-important journey to a good doctor-patient relationship by making sure that you can trust your doctor, you can communicate well with them, feel listened to and understood, and that you can understand them because they explain things to you. You feel safe knowing that they will always involve you in any decisions that need to be made. You’ll be familiar with how the practice works (they’re all different in subtle ways) so that you don’t have to wonder how to make an appointment, how to pay, what sort of follow-up for tests there is and so on.
- So, even if you’re not actually sick (and why wait until then?), why not have a think about making an appointment with one of us? And the final word on the definition of general practice and why it’s so important, from the Royal Australian College of GPs: “General practice provides person centred, continuing, comprehensive and coordinated wholeperson health care to individuals and families in their communities.”