There are two vast categories of doctors in the healthcare sector. They include General Practitioners(GPs) and specialist doctors. These professionals play vital roles in the field of medicine providing quality health solutions and taking care of patients respectively. However, they differ significantly in their training, expertise, and scope of care they provide. I will delve into the crucial roles the general practitioners in the healthcare sector play and the functions they carry out in their field of expertise.


Who is a General Practitioner?

A general practitioner(GP), also known as a family doctor, is a doctor who provides preventive care and healthcare education to all ages. GPs are doctors who have completed training in general practice. They treat acute and chronic illnesses, common medical conditions and perform routine exams. They are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking medical care and serve as the primary healthcare provider for ongoing health management.


A general practitioner focuses on your overall health: physical and mental. They serve an important role in a much wider healthcare system. They have broad knowledge and the skills to work out how to manage all the health issues you might have throughout your life.

Roles and responsibilities of a general practitioner in the healthcare sector

The duties of a general practitioner are broad. They are responsible for examining patients, diagnosing common illnesses and administering or prescribing appropriate treatment. Examples of the care they provide include:

  1. Immunizations: They recommend the appropriate vaccines to their patients, prescribe and administer the vaccines and answer any arising questions concerning the vaccines.
  2. Routine exams: GPs examine patients, listen to their symptoms, and take medical histories to make an accurate diagnosis.
  3. Diagnosis and Treatment: GPs diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications, and provide appropriate medical interventions. They may also perform minor surgical procedures.
  4. Preventive Care: GPs emphasize preventive medicine, providing vaccinations, health screenings, and lifestyle recommendations to help patients maintain good health.
  5. Education and Counseling: GPs guide healthy lifestyle choices, disease prevention, and health promotion. They offer advice on nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, and mental well-being.
  6. Chronic (long-term) illness care: GPs manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and heart disease. They monitor patients’ health, prescribe necessary medications, and coordinate with specialists when needed.
  7. References to specialists: GPs refer patients to specialist doctors when further investigation or specialized treatment is required. They coordinate and communicate with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive and integrated care.
  8. Follow-up care: GPs establish long-term relationships with their patients, providing consistent care and support over time. They maintain medical records, monitor progress, and offer follow-up appointments to ensure continuity of care.


Where a career as a General Practitioner in the healthcare sector can take you  

As a General Practitioner, you can have a career in the following areas:

  1. Run a shared practice or specialize in areas like sports medicine, adolescent health, diabetes, or children’s health.
  2. Get involved in research at universities, the NHS (UK), or the private sector.
  3. Teach medical students or postgraduate doctors.
  4. Work in hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.
  5. Pursue a medical career in the Military or prison service.
  6. Become a member of a local medical committee or clinical commissioning group to engage in local health issues.


A doctor is a broad term that refers to any individual who has obtained a medical degree and is licensed to practice medicine. General practitioners serve as the first point of contact, providing primary care and fostering preventive health practices.  GPs often develop long-term relationships with their patients and coordinate their healthcare needs, referring them to specialists when necessary.


Good luck.

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