What is a GP?
The term ‘Specialist’ is usually used to describe as a doctor who specialises in one area of medicine or surgery. However, most GPs are Fellows of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and are recognised by Medicare as a Specialist. A GP has specialised as a Family Physician who who is trained to sort out health issues in kids, men, women & pregnancy.
There is an important practical difference between a GP and a ‘Specialist.’ The Medicare rebate to see a GP does not require a referral letter. The medicare rebate to see a ‘Specialist’ does require a referral from a doctor.
You are therefore free to pick any GP and go and see them – without a referral from a doctor.
There is a great deal of skills overlap between what a GP with advanced skills and a Specialist.
GP Training lasts at least 9-10 years. The GP is trained to diagnose a vast range of conditions, including rare conditions. To put this into perspective, GPs often arrange tests for a condition that might be seen once every 10 to 20 years. The GP is trained to be aware of their own limits & to refer appropriately.