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What is a GP?
A general practitioner, or GP, is a doctor who deals with a wide range of health issues and problems. GPs are largely community-based, treating acute and chronic illnesses, and providing the public with general health education. GPs are the first point of contact for many with a medical condition, and have the skill and experience to recognise, diagnose, treat, and advise a complete range of medical and emotional issues.
How can I choose a GP?
Within the NHS, you have the legal right to choose a GP practice which is best suited to you and your needs. You can search GP practices online and compare location, the services they offer, and how they perform as a surgery. Once you apply for the practice, they will accept or reject your application (for example, if the practice is at full capacity, they may not take on new applications). Once you have chosen your GP, you can change practices, but you must apply again and can only visit one practice rather than multiple.
If you choose to go privately, there is more flexibility, and you are not tied to a particular practice or doctor. Same-day or next-day appointments are offered by many private GPs at a set cost.
What services does a GP offer?
GPs are the first point of contact for many with a medical condition seeking diagnosis. GPs also provide referral to specialist doctors, as an initial assessment is necessary before passing the patient on to a different healthcare specialist. GPs provide testing and referral for particular scans, and are able to advise on treatment paths for a wide range of conditions. GPs can also issue medical certificates, provide sick notes, and issue prescriptions.
Finding a GP near me
You can find GP practices listed in your local services directory, and many practices now have online booking available. Once you have found your GP, you will be going to the same practice until you decide to change if necessary. To find a private GP, searching online is becoming easier and quicker, with tools such as the Top Doctors search bar. Our online search allows you to find a private GP in your area and make an appointment over the internet, or through a quick telephone call.