You are awoken in the middle of the night by a creeping malaise. It is difficult to pinpoint what it is – a mere cold or the precursor to something worse? In moments of uncertainty, who do you turn to?
What are GPs
General practitioners (GPs) are the jacks-of-all-trades in the medical profession. Unlike specializing physicians, they do not focus on specific regions or organs of the body; instead, they are trained to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of illnesses. They see patients of all ages, male or female, in urban or rural settings. This non-discriminatory philosophy fuels a holistic approach to their practice of medicine, in which they consider biological, psychological, and social factors into their service.
When to contact a GP
Typically, it is best to contact a GP first when seeking medical attention. While some work in a healthcare team, most practice in the solitude of their own clinics. Within a community, GPs perform routine healthcare and initial medical response. It is only when the illness turns out to be a serious medical condition that the patient is referred to a specialist.
What makes a good GP
A good GP keeps a balanced mindset, even after working long hours or under pressure, and is able to make rational decisions should difficult situations arise. He or she recognizes the importance of maintaining effective communication within a team. Above all, the motivation to learn and improve is intrinsic.
Still, how important is it that you and your family are in the hands of the right GP? Your GP will follow the progress of your health for most of your life – during physical examinations or when you have common questions about health – so it is crucial that your GP is reliable and understands how to communicate with you most effectively.
The medical field abounds with jargon that you rarely hear in a casual conversation, so be sure to choose a GP who explains the conditions thoroughly and patiently, making sure that you understand what is happening inside your body before you leave the clinic.
Most doctors will advise you to choose a GP when you are healthy, both physically and psychologically, to establish a good rapport with him or her. After all, this is the person you will be entrusting some of the most confidential information regarding you and your family. The Internet hosts databases of medical profiles that are regularly updated, so it is your responsibility to conduct research on the practising GPs in your area. You may also want to make sure any GP you are seeing has a CRB check. If you are a GP and haven’t had a CRB check you can get one from CRB Direct. As visits to the GP are regular, the clinic or office should be in a convenient location; however, do ask if the GP allows home visits.
It may take time, and even several doctor visits if you are not so lucky before you find the right GP, but once you do, you can rest assured that you and your family are well taken care of.