What is a GP?
GPs, or general practitioners, play a central role in the delivery of general health treatment and the coordination of your health. It can hard and sometimes confusing to navigate the health system and your GP is the best place to start as your specialist in life. General practice is a medical specialty, and in some countries general practice is called family medicine.
In Australia, GPs are often your first contact with health care. They care for you in the whole context of your life, not just your physical health.
They are your investigator in health – they will listen to your concerns, check you over, run tests, follow-up on your care, prescribe you medications to treat or relieve your condition or they will support you to coordinate your care with allied health professionals or specialists.
Why should I have a GP?
Having a GP is important to ensure you receive the right health care in the right place at the right time.
A GP can help you if you are feeling sick or are injured, if you are worried about anything to do with your nutrition and keeping fit and well, or any aspects of your physical health or changes in your body, if you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed and unhappy, if you are having problems with alcohol or other drugs or concerns over medications, or you need a general health check or immunisation.
As well as a short-term medical concerns, GPs play a key role in managing and treating ongoing health concerns and chronic conditions.
Building a relationship with a GP or the GPs in a particular General Practice means you are getting the best possible ongoing care was your medical history is available, including any tests you have had done or medications you have been prescribed are on file.
Building a relationship with a GP is also important because you build up trust, allows you to be open about your health and concerns you have. It can also help you be confident to ask questions you feel are important and to tell your GP or the practice when you feel you are not being heard.
How do I access a GP and other health providers?
GPs and general practices come in a range of forms in South Western Sydney. In some practices you can only see a GP by making an appointment while in some practices patients are can walk-in and are placed in a queue and are seen by the first available GP.
Some practices in the region bulk bill their patients, which means the total cost of the GP consultation is paid by the government through your Medicare card. Some practices charge a fee above the government payment provided to GPs through the Medicare system.
When seeking a personal GP it is important to consider these factors along with the geographic location of the surgery and its hours of operation if you likely to need to visit a doctor before or after normal trading hours.
If you do not already have a regular GP, you can find a GP near you using the Healthdirect ‘find a service’ app or the find a service section on this website. You can also find out if a GP bulk bills and opening hours.