A general practitioner, or GP, is a doctor who, as the name suggests, provides general healthcare services. They are often the first port of call for any problems. In the UK, the NHS provides a system of primary care administered by GP-led practices, with which patients can be registered, and receive care free on the NHS. However, it is also possible to find and visit a GP privately. Private GPs may either be employed by private health providers, or work independently.
Like any other doctor, GPs must be registered on the General Medical Council’s List of Registered Medical Practitioners to practise in the UK. If they also work in general practice in the health service in the UK, they must be included on the GMC’s GP Register.
You should see a General Practitioner if you are notice any changes to your general disposition or health problems which are impacting your day-to-day life. Symptoms or problems a GP can help with include, but are not limited to, coughs and colds, physical pain, headaches and mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. If you have previously been diagnosed with a long-term condition you may need regular check-ups with a GP to monitor your treatment and progress.