A General Practitioner or GP in Australia is an important person who helps to keep you healthy. GPs play a stellar role in the Australian public health system in rural Australia particularly, they are highly respected and accorded a warm welcome.
In rural Australia, GPs may also provide specialised services like obstetrics care, minor surgeries, anaesthesia and trauma management due to the shortage of medical practitioners in the rural regions.
GPs enjoy a high degree of job satisfaction from their varied responsibilities and roles.
The following are among the major advantages of having a GP in your neighbourhood medical health centre.
Ongoing mental and physical wellbeing
All of us need the support of a GP to ensure our current mental and physical wellbeing. GPs not only work with patients when they are ill but also ensure that they stay healthy. Unlike other speciality medical practitioners, GPs provide healthcare for the whole person. In other words, a GP is an expert who takes into account all factors that influence your health now as well as in the future.
A primary role of a GP is preventive care. If we go by the statistics, intervention by GPs can prevent some 80% type2 diabetes, strokes, and premature coronary diseases and 40% cancers. GPs can advise lifestyle changes including diet, regular exercises, and abstinence from tobacco and tobacco products.
Most of these preventive health services can be activated at a neighbourhood medical centre of a GP’s facility which is significantly more affordable and accessible so that Australians can commit themselves to optimal health. Often, our busy schedules or the absence of any obvious symptoms are primary reasons why we do not seek an appointment with our GP. However, with regular meetings, it is a lot easier to prevent serious illnesses or benefit from early diagnosis.
Identifying a good GP
Look for the letters FRACGP after the name of the GP. It represents a fellowship of the ‘Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ and assures that the individual has gone through specialist GP training and had the qualification to practice without supervision across Australia. GPs are also required to pursue ongoing education so that you are reassured by the GP’s knowledge of the latest advancements in medicine and medical treatments. Friends and family also constitute a great source for recommending a GP who is right to address your personal circumstances.
What should I expect from my GP?
When it comes to ‘whole person care’, you can rely on GPs and more specifically:-
Diagnosis – Your GP works with you in helping to define if your problem is urgent, only needs monitoring or is of a serious nature. They have the knowledge and wherewithal to help you get to the core of your concern regarding health.
Treatment – Your GP will play a central role in treatment plans that may be needed, manage appropriate use of medicine and monitor your progress. Your GP also enjoys an extensive network of local experts in different branches of medicine who can be referred to when your situation warrants.
Getting the best out of your GP
By seeing the same GP at regular intervals, you build a relationship which helps in your GP getting a close-up understanding your health risks. This way, he/she will have access to all medical records related to you in one place, and that makes it lot easier in getting a ‘big picture’ view of the state of your health.
Remember though that in instances where you are going through a complicated problem, and you may need one or more extended appointments. In such situations, it is a good idea to keep the receptionist posted on this when you are making a booking with the GP. Similarly, when you need to discuss several things and perhaps also need a series of tests to be, it is desirable to book a longer appointment so that your GP has adequate time in his hands to comprehend your problem thoroughly.
If you can also prepare a list, it can work well. However, it is essential that your GP has a clear understanding of all issues that you need to be addressed, right at the start of the consultation. This way, your GP can prioritise his time actually with you. As has often been repeated, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, a monthly visit to your GP can do loads of good for your health and well-being.
Distinguishing between Medical Centres and GP
Medical centres, as opposed to a GP, constitute larger medical establishments with multiple departments for different medical specialities. Given various lifestyle issues today, a GP may need to refer you for specialised treatment at one of these medical centres. Typically medical facilities are equipped with advanced medical types of equipment and facilities to undertake such specialised treatments. Such services can include exhaustive laboratories to carry out different tests required to determine the extent and nature of health problems, scanning machines, X-ray machines, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Equipment, Electro Cardiogram types of equipment, Treadmill and more.
Medical centres cater to situations requiring critical care, surgeries, medical emergencies, medical needs during pregnancy and childbirth, and other situations where a GP’s office will have limitations regarding equipment and facilities. Apart from this, in some instances, the same patient may need the services of medical professionals specialising in different disciplines. Instead of moving the patient from one place to the other, medical centres have the ability to provide multi-disciplinary treatment under one roof.