GPs are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem. A typical GP appointment is scheduled to last for ten minutes, during which time the GP will assess the patient. They will make swift and effective decisions based on the presenting symptoms, and the patient’s current and previous medical history.
What does a GP do?
Depending on their examination and diagnosis the GP has several management options which they will discuss with the patient as they develop a shared and agreed plan.
These can include:
- Offering reassurance
- Advising on a certain course of action
- Prescribing medication
- Refer the patient for further tests to confirm a diagnosis, for example x-rays, blood tests or referring on for a second opinion.
GP’s are trained to spot the signs of “red flag” symptoms, which might indicate a serious problem requiring further investigation and which needs to be acted on promptly.
Up to 40 % of a doctors consulting can now be done over the telephone, rather than in face to face encounters and the shift to using different media is likely to expand in the future.
GPs work as part of large multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) who all support the holistic care of any patient and these can include nurses, midwives, health visitors, pharmacists, physician associates, psychiatrists and care of the elderly specialists. They meet regularly to discuss cases and plan joint approaches to co-ordinate packages of care.
- You will usually need at least five GCSE’s at grades A* or A, this includes English, Maths, and at least a grade B in science.
- Medical Degree – 5 years