Understanding The Role Of A GP

26 February 2021
 Categories: , Blog


You may think of your GP as a person you make an appointment with if you have a cold or just feel a little under the weather, but the role of a GP is multifaceted and encompasses a wide range of healthcare needs. There may be times when a GP isn't the best healthcare professional for you to see, so understanding their role can help you be clear about when to make an appointment with your GP and what to expect when you see your GP. Read on to find out more about the role of a GP.

The Treatment Of Chronic And Acute Medical Conditions

GPs treat a range of chronic and acute medical conditions. These tend to be characterised as conditions that will not resolve on their own or with the use of over-the-counter medication from a pharmacy. Examples of chronic conditions that a GP will treat and help to manage alongside specialists include diabetes, depression and asthma. Acute conditions treated by GPs include bacterial infections, bronchitis and minor burns. Medical centres typically have separate clinics led by GPs for specialist areas of care that can be managed in a primary care setting, such as family planning and sexual health, mental health and minor skin complaints. You will need to make an appointment for the clinic that's relevant to your needs rather than a general GP appointment, and you can usually get a list of the clinics offered at your medical centre on their website.

Carrying Out Tests And Procedures

GPs often do the initial leg work of diagnosing a health condition, and they will carry out blood and urine tests to screen for conditions based on the symptoms you are experiencing. These tests can help diagnose conditions affecting your respiratory system, digestive system, endocrine system or major organs. Once diagnosed, your GP may be able to manage your healthcare needs or they may need to refer you to an appropriate specialist. GPs can also carry out minor procedures, such as draining a sebaceous cyst, removing skin tags or performing cryotherapy on warts.

Patient Advocacy

An important part of a GP's role is patient advocacy. Your GP will provide the support you need to access suitable healthcare services and represent your best interests when you encounter a problem with your healthcare provision. This may mean writing to your specialist to ask for clarification on your treatment plan if you feel unsure why you are being prescribed a certain medication or contacting tertiary services on your behalf if you don't feel able to, such as the community mental health team.  

GPs play an important role in supporting you to live a healthy life. If you'd like more information on the role of a GP, or if you'd like to check whether the health concern you're experiencing warrants an appointment with a GP, contact your medical centre. They can help you decide whether to book an appointment with your GP or another healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist or nurse practitioner.