Health, Lifestyle

General Practitioners

Whether you’ve seen the posters around town or have been looking for a family doctor, Britain has a lot to offer in terms of medical care and needs.

Sabina Cao

Under the National Healthcare System, the publicly funded healthcare system initiated in the mid 1940s, residents are able to receive a comprehensive range of services to keep healthy. A general practitioner or GP is a primary care medical practitioner who sees everything and does not specialize in any field of medicine. They normally provide preventative care and health education for people of all ages and both sexes. GPs are fairly common in Ireland and the UK mainly, but several other Commonwealth countries as well.

Doctors who wish to become a GP must undertake another three years of training after graduation from medical school, which include rotations in several areas around them, as well as vocational training in four specialized areas such as obstetrics or accident and emergency and a year as a general practice registrar. There are a number of GPs that work in both the public and private sectors. Most of the English population visits GPs in their initial concerns over all sections of health, and either looks for specialized doctors afterwards or continue on with their GP, depending on the affliction.

Comprehensive information on GPs can be found online easily. Not only does the General Medical Council website provide an online register of registered medical practitioners, but also there status and details such as their reference number, registration date, and year/place of their primary medical degree. In London alone, there are over 300 listed practitioners, both in private and public services, to fit your needs and location. Services provided by a GP can vary in costs, and depending on the exact circumstances of you visit, can be as little as nothing. Prescription medicines, on the other hand have varied costs. In England, however, most working age adults not on benefits only have to pay the standard ate of £7.10 per item since April 2008.

NHS reforms as of late have changed the GP contract, encouraging more to prescribe medicines by their generic names and payment set on performance rather than hours. These reforms come after much criticism of GP salary and lack of accountability on NHS’s part.

FACTS

  • There are roughly 250 million consultations in the UK every year.
  • Nurses make up nearly 30% of the NHS workforce.
  • Full-time general practitioners see close to 255 patients a week.
  • 745 million prescription items are dispensed each year.
  • NHS personnel have contact with about 1.5 million patients and their families every day.
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