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All GPs are not the same

08/04/2019 | In Blogs

Dr Shiva Rayar

Have you ever gone to the emergency department and been told “You should talk to your GP about that” or seen a specialist who might have informed you that a certain issue is not their area of expertise so you should “Ask your GP about that.” Well, the “that” is what GPs are trained to do. Knowing the next step for every problem is our job and it requires the unique skill of knowing something about everything.

A good GP will take a history, perform an examination, run appropriate investigations and implement a management plan. A good GP will also know when a problem needs the urgent care of an Emergency Department or requires a particular specialist’s involvement at an early stage. No doctor is perfect, but this is what we endeavour to do.

Doctors in general practice have varying qualifications.

1. Specialist General Practitioners are Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, its international equivalent, or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
2. GP Registrars are in training to become Specialist GPs.
3. Non-vocationally (non-fellows) registered doctors provide general practice services with variable restrictions such as working in areas of need, after hours or lower Medicare rebates.

Steps to becoming a Specialist General Practitioner are:

1. One year internship at a tertiary hospital passing all terms including Surgery, Medicine and Emergency.
2. Three year GP Specialty program including an additional hospital year and two years under supervised general practice placements.
3. Three fellowship exams. Assignments. Log books. Supervised consultations. Term evaluations.

The fastest path to a Specialist GP takes 9 years including medical school, however many of us spend additional years in the hospital system before starting our specialty training.

Being a Specialist in General Practice is not a title for comparison to other specialists. It is about recognising the specific skill set, additional training, experience and qualifications it takes to become a good Generalist.

I don’t refer to myself as a specialist in life because well, I’m still figuring life out.

What I am however, is a Specialist in General Practice.

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