When you start to feel unwell, then your first visit is often to a medical practitioner. In non-emergency situations, a family doctor or general medical practitioner (GP) should normally be your first point of contact. They will be able to examine your problem and advise you on treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and chronic ailments. The GP should also be your point of contact for all regular health examinations.
Who can see a GP?
As long as you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia, you will be able to access Medicare. If you are a visitor to Australia and your country has a reciprocal medical arrangement with Australia, you may also be able to access the free medical treatment offered by Medicare.
Will you have to pay to see a general medical practitioner?
If you are eligible for a Medicare card, then in most cases the full cost of your treatment will be covered by Medicare. Services which are not covered would include cosmetic procedures and some types of preventative screening treatments. If you need a private consultation, you will need to find out whether the GP you are planning to see accepts bulk billing or whether you will need to pay first and then reclaim the Medicare rebate afterwards.
When can you see a general medical practitioner?
While most GPs have fixed opening hours, it should be possible to find a GP whose opening hours fit in with your lifestyle. If you need to see a medical practitioner outside of normal opening hours, most clinics will offer out-of-hours arrangements. These services are often contracted out by GPs and could cover a much wider area than your normal GP surgery.
What happens if you need further treatment?
While a GP can help you with many forms of medical treatment, there will still be times when you will need to see a specialist for further treatment. A GP is often able to obtain a referral for you to see the relevant specialist
To find out more about which GP clinic or service could be right for you, talk to some of your local GP services today. They will be able to explain what treatment options they can offer, what hours they are open and how their billing arrangements work. You should only select a GP once you are confident that they are a great fit for all your family needs.