General practitioners have an important role in looking after patients in their homes and within the communities where they live. They are part of a much wider team whose role includes promoting, preventing and initiating treatment. As well, GPs look after patients with chronic illnesses.
GPs are often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health problem and patients can be at their most anxious. Looking after the whole person – the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, cultural and economic aspects through patient-centred approaches is an important part of any GP’s role.
There are over 1.3 million GP consultations every day, most of which take place in a GP surgery or within the patient’s home. GPs occasionally work as part of teams attached to hospitals, accident and emergency centres.
A typical GP appointment is scheduled to last for ten minutes, during which time the GP needs to assess the patient. They have to make effective decisions based on the presenting symptoms, and the patient’s current and previous medical history. They also use their own knowledge to assess the chance of a certain illness being present. GPs look for patterns of symptoms to indicate or rule out different conditions. Up to 40 % of a doctor consulting can now be done over the telephone, rather than in face to face check-ups.
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 giving the patient information, advising on a certain course of action or prescribing medication. Alternatively, they may send the patient to further tests to confirm a diagnosis or as part of an on-going management plan. These can include x-rays, blood tests, or second tests. They are trained to notice the signs of “red flag” symptoms, which might indicate a serious problem.
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1. Write T(True) if the sentence is correct and F(False) if it is not.
2. Use some of the bolded phrases to match the explanations.