The role of your General Practitioner (GP)
For all non-emergency health concerns the first health professional you should see is your doctor, or GP.
For sudden onsets of injury or illness called ‘acute’ or long term complaints called ‘chronic’; your GP can help you make decisions about your care, help you feel informed and understand any health issues. They can begin the process of testing and examination.
Having a regular GP that you trust is important. A GP acts as the coordinator of your care if you are seeing multiple practitioners for health issues and a relationship with your GP helps with continuity of your care long term.
If your GP decides that you should see a specialist for your treatment, they will refer you to another doctor that specialises in a specific field of medicine related to your illness. To understand what getting a referral means, what questions you might want to ask and what your next steps can be you may want to read ‘getting a specialist referral’.