Commonly recognised as the jack of all medical trades – what is the role of a general practitioner, or what exactly does a GP do?

GPs are doctors who have completed training in general practice. They have broad knowledge and the skills to treat all the health issues you might have through your life. If you’re feeling under the weather or not quite yourself, your first port of call will usually be to your local or preferred general practitioner. Because your GP gets to know you, your family and ultimately your community, they can provide care that is best suited to your own individual circumstances. 

Along with diagnosing the condition using symptoms that you may (or may not) be presenting with, it’s also their job to determine whether you need to see another healthcare professional or not. If required, your general practitioner will issue you with a referral to see a specialist in a particular area of medicine. If you see a specialist without first obtaining a referral from your GP within the previous twelve months or from another specialist within the previous three months, you won’t be able to access the Medicare rebate. In simple terms, general practitioners often coordinate all areas of specialist care as the first point of contact, and as your primary liaison.

So what does a GP do on a day to day basis exactly? In simple terms, they often treat a wide variety of mild, chronic and acute medical conditions. Just a few of the more common examples in Australia include – 

  • Minor injuries and illnesses (if you have a serious injury or illness, contact an ambulance on 000, or go to your nearest hospital emergency department)
  • General health advice
  • Prescriptions for medications 
  • Ongoing care if you have a chronic health condition (physical, surgical or psychiatric) 
  • Health screens, such as cervical screening, or blood pressure checks
  • A wide variety of vaccinations 
  • Ongoing care during pregnancy 
  • Development care for children
  • Mental healthcare if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed 
  • Issuing a medical certificate, certified document or report about an injury

A general practitioner may also be the one to conduct a number of tests “in house”, or to refer a patient onto a specialist to conduct further investigation into a presented set of symptoms or conditions off site. Many GP’s can perform electrocardiograms (ECG), blood sugar levels, peak flow measurements and basic lung function tests. Some of the most common referrals that GP’s issue for off site testing include blood tests, and other laboratory based investigations such as the analysis of urine, stools or other body fluids. Referrals for imaging by a radiologist or radiographer are also common, for tests such as x-rays, CT scans or ultrasounds. 

How To Access A GP After Hours 

If your regular GP is closed and you need a doctor after hours then the good news is that House Call Doctor offers a solution. 

In operation since 2015, House Call Doctor have drawn on the skills of qualified medical professionals in order to provide high quality out of hours access to healthcare for Australians when their GP is closed. Our team of GPs come from all walks of life, just like our patients. 

Our team of fully trained medical professionals can not only ease the stress of accessing a doctor outside of traditional working hours, but they can also visit you within the comforts of your own home. The medical services available through House Call Doctor are bulk billed to all Medicare or DVA card holders.

To book a consultation with an after hours home doctor, simply contact us via:

Downloading the free House Call Doctor app from your Apple or Android smartphone