Difference between careers for General Physicians & General Practitioners

Difference between careers for General Physicians & General Practitioners General Practitioner The GP plays a central role in the delivery of health care to the Australian community. In Australia, the GP: is most likely the first point of contact in matters of personal health coordinates the care of patients and…

Difference between careers for General Physicians & General Practitioners

General Practitioner

The GP plays a central role in the delivery of health care to the Australian community.

In Australia, the GP:

  • is most likely the first point of contact in matters of personal health
  • coordinates the care of patients and refers patients to other specialists
  • cares for patients in a whole of person approach and in the context of their work, family and community
  • cares for patients of all ages, both sexes, children and adults across all disease categories
  • cares for patients over a period of their lifetime
  • provides advice and education on health care
  • performs legal processes such as certification of documents or provision of reports in relation to motor transport or work accidents.

General practice is a medical speciality (in some countries called family medicine). Entry to the speciality may be achieved by the admission to Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practice, (RACGP), or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, (ACRRM), to attain the qualification of either the FRACGP or FACRRM or both. These training programs are two years in length. Fellowship entitles a GP to practice unsupervised anywhere in Australia, and to access a specialist rate of remuneration under Medicare, the Australian health insurance scheme. Most doctors will need to undertake the College assessments to achieve Fellowship.

A GP can specialise in areas such as Women’s Health, Skin, Medical Cannabis, Anaesthetics, O&G and ED, with further training. These are what’s known as procedural GPs. It’s an in-demand skill set that can see a GP working in both urban and regional areas of the country.

As a fully qualified GP you can expect to earn over $300K per year working in a full time capacity. It is a misnomer that GP’s do not earn as much as other specialists but this is not true as in many cases GP’s are earning in excess of $500K per year.

General Physician

General physicians are consultants who care for patients with special or difficult problems. General physicians only see patients who are referred to them by other doctors, usually by the patient’s own general practitioner.

Global Approach: Whether the referral identifies one health problem or many, the general physician’s assessment is always comprehensive. This global approach enables problems to be detected and diagnostic possibilities to be considered which might otherwise be missed.

Complex Care: General physicians are especially trained to care for patients with complex illnesses, in which the diagnosis may be difficult. The general physician’s broad training provides expertise in diagnosis and treatment of problems affecting different body systems in a patient. They are also trained to deal with social and psychological impact of disease.

Procedures: General physicians are trained to carry out a variety of medical procedures for the diagnosis and management of patients with severe and complex illnesses.

Diagnosis: General physicians have special training in the usefulness, limitations and costs of most diagnostic tests. General physicians use diagnostic tests logically, safely and effectively to investigate difficult diagnostic problems.

Treatment: General physicians are trained in the critical analysis of research reports and drug industry claims about new treatments. They are knowledgeable about complex interactions of medications given simultaneously to treat multiple illnesses in a patient. The general physician has special expertise in making treatment decisions to help patients with complex and serious illnesses.

Pre- and Post-operative assessment: General physicians are frequently asked to review patients before surgery. They advise surgeons of a patient’s risk status and can recommend appropriate management to minimise the risk of the operation. They can also assist in postoperative care and ongoing medical problems or complications.


The unique combination of knowledge, training and skills distinguishes general physicians from other medical specialists and general practitioners. Through a rigorous and comprehensive training program, general physicians are:

  • broadly educated to deal with the entire range of the patient’s medical problems
  • thorough, logical and scientific in their approach to providing expert diagnosis
  • able to assess and choose drugs and other medical therapies wisely to prevent and treat disease able to care for patients as whole people, not just body systems, and
  • highly skilled in clinical decision making and cost effective use of dwindling health care resources


Becoming a general physician involves a six year training program comprising of three years of basic training which includes a written and oral exam followed by three years of advanced training and a further written and oral exam. During this period you will be working as a Registrar where the base salary ranges from $115K to $160K. After successfully completing the training program you will be admitted to Fellowship and obtain the FRACP qualifications. Once working at specialist level a General Physician can expect earn anywhere from $300K to $450K in the public hospital system and over $600K in private practice although the demands of private practice  can be significantly more than in the public system if there is little or no junior doctor support.

Find Jobs With JPS Medical Recruitment

If you’re seeking a GP or General Physician role within Australia, team up with the medical recruitment experts at JPS Medical Recruitment. Get in touch today to discover how we can help you with your employment goals.


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