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General Practice (Family Medicine)

A general practitioner (GP) is an appropriately qualified medical graduate who has particular knowledge and skills to provide personal, family, whanau, and community-oriented, comprehensive primary care.

A GP's care continues over time, is anticipatory as well as responsive, and is not limited by the age, sex, race, religion, or social circumstances of patients, nor by their physical or mental states.

General practice is an academic and scientific discipline with its own educational content, research, evidence base, and clinical activity. It is a clinical specialty orientated to primary health care. It is a first level service that requires improving, maintaining, restoring and co-ordinating people's health. It focuses on patient needs and enhancing the network among local communities, other health agencies, and non-health agencies.

General practice:

- Is normally the point of first medical contact within the health care system, providing open and unlimited access to its users.

- Makes efficient use of health care resources through the co-ordination of care, working with other professionals in the primary health care setting, managing the interface with other specialties, and taking an advocacy role for the patient when needed.

- Develops a patient-centred approach, orientated to the individual, as well as an approach that is responsive to the needs of their family/whanau and their community.

- Has a unique consultation process that establishes a relationship over time, through effective communication between clinician and patient.

- Is responsible for the provision of longitudinal continuity of care as determined by the needs of the patient.

- Has a specific decision-making process determined by the prevalence and incidence of illness in the community.

- Diagnoses and manages simultaneously both acute and chronic health problems of individual patients.

- Diagnoses and manages illness which presents in an undifferentiated way at an early stage in its development, which may require urgent intervention.

- Promotes health and well-being through appropriate and effective intervention.

- Has a specific responsibility for health in the community.

- Deals with health problems in their physical, psychological, spiritual, social and cultural dimensions.

Sourced from: Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

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