General medical practitioner

What they do

General practitioners diagnose and treat people’s illnesses and injuries. They tend to see patients on a one-to-one, non-emergency basis regarding temporary or chronic illness, general health check-ups and preventative health tests. They are usually the first point of call regarding non-emergency illness or injury, and often refer patients on to specialists once they have made their diagnosis.

Working conditions

General practitioners work in health clinics and practices in both the government and private sectors. They normally work with a small group of practitioners in a general practice, but do most of their work individually in private rooms with limited medical equipment. They may also work in a large community health centres with other health professionals and see patients in group settings. General practitioners are required all over the State. In small rural communities, they may be required to conduct house visits if clinic facilitates are limited or unavailable, or if their patients live in isolated locations. All general practitioners, regardless of their location or workplace, come in contact with infectious diseases and bodily fluids. They need to wear protective gear such as gloves. They may also have to work long or irregular hours.

Tools and technologies

General practitioners use instruments such as stethoscopes, thermometers, sphygmomanometers (blood pressure monitors) and reflex hammer. They also administer medicines, such as vaccinations. They regularly use computers to maintain client records and consult pharmaceutical manuals.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a general medical practitioner, you must first become a qualified medical doctor and then specialise in general practice.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To specialise in general practice, doctors can apply to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and/or the Australian College of Rural Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as a general medical practitioner in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.

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