Hey Am I The Only One Who Thinks GPs Are Relics Of A Bygone Era That Need Replacing.

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Spoiler Alert….this Blog may upset some people. Well Doctors mostly.

Unless you have a runny nose, GPs seem to be a complete waste of time and an unnecessary level to getting to real help. Real help are Specialists. It seems to me that GP’s are merely receptionists for Specialists.

Over the time of my adult life, I have had several major surgeries including spinal surgery and stomach surgery, I have had many sports and motorbike injuries and other things that I have needed medical help for. Additionally, Melanie my wife and both my daughters have had medical issues in the past that have required medical help. I say that to convince you I have extensive experience with GPs.

In 95% of cases you go to the GP for them to simply say ‘I don’t know, here is a referral’. I am being kind….its 99.5% of cases.

So I am wondering what is the true function of a GP? Why can’t Registered Nurses dispense prescriptions for the common cold and sign the form you need for an MRI or an XRay?

There are ads running on Gold Coast and Sydney Radio at the moment that are promoting the GP as the carer for the family on a whole number of levels. First up I wonder what is the need that has prompted the expenditure on these ads. Second up, the idea of the caring family doctor has been replaced by the commercially driven medical centre where you are treated as a slab of meat and you have seven minutes with the GP and then you are out. And the GP you see is generally the next available so the idea of building up any level of relationship is laughable…..And I shouldn’t mention that most of the GPs I see these days don’t have English as their first language. (Not that I care of the nationality of the doctor but I do think broken English doesn’t help me communicate about my medical issue). And while I am raging about GPs – how come they are never ever ever on time. I make appointments first up in the morning so that the GP should be running on time. But I have never been seen on time, ever. It’s like some GP code would be violated if a Doctor saw a patient when their actual appointment was. But I digress.

What if there was a better system of gaining access to the real doctors….the Specialists? Let’s think for a moment that we made the GP system completely online. Take my issues a few years ago as a case study. I am having bad reflux. I have tried all the over the counter reflux solutions which I had been helped with by my friendly Pharmacist.  So, I log on to myonlinedoc.com account and put in my symptoms and the course of action that I have taken. A registered nurse or a Doc says the next level of action is some Nexium. I download the prescription form and visit the pharmacy. Three weeks later, I logon to my medical account again and tell them the symptoms are still there and they say they next level of action is to see a specialist. A referral is emailed to me and the nearest reflux specialist is informed and their office contacts me with three options for an appointment. Easy, not time consuming and my first contact with a Doctor one on one, is contact with a real doctor who can actually help me.

All this has taken place without the need for a GP and the car park wrestles and the waiting room frustration where I get to read Woman’s Day from 2004 when Angelina and Brad were just getting married.

I think GP’s have become part of an antiquated system that needs to be removed:- like State Governments…..but that’s a blog topic for another day.

Anyway that’s what I think.


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6 replies

  1. I am grateful for my GP support during my ongoing WorkCover battle…

    Have a blessed and happy day!
    Sean McMartin
    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Well Peter I have (according to my medical history)

    S… d…, f…
    M… v… p…
    V… X d…
    L… O… o… k… and
    B… P… H…

    none of which a registered nurse would be qualified to diagnose let alone prescribe treatment for.

    So my doctor, who may have English as a second language, who may even belong to a religion that would kill me if they had the chance, and can be late because he gives patients the time they need (which allows me time to practise patience) looks after me well.

    So next month, at 67, I see my (probably) first medical specialist (if I’ve seen one before I can’t remember) and that’s on my request because my “brother was (accidentally – two meanings thereof) diagnosed with ascending aortic aneurysm and bicuspid valve after MVA” and if I have similar issues I don’t want to find out by accident.

    So I get referred to specialists about 0.01% of the time.

    Give up the sports and motorbikes is my suggestion 🙂

  3. Bravely written 😱
    But yes! Lots of truth herein sadly 💁
    And yet, the criticism that is dished out if you dare do Dr Google!?!?

    PS Essential oils DigestZen for reflux! 😉

  4. I am more than happy to have a gripe at GP’s. Like you, I also am suffering from reflux. After 4 years of doctors appointments, tests & medication, there is no real relief. Personally I don’t think the GP’s that I have seen (more than 4) have the slightest interest in whether I am improving or not. To be completely cynical, the longer my reflux goes on, the more appointments I make.
    It has often been said that men don’t care about their health & that they are more prepared to put up with conditions stoically. This is to suggest that it is our male bravado that is at play here. I would like to offer another reason. If I have a complaint, I need to see the doctor. I have to take time off work (problem), then get to the doctors rooms. I have to wait a considerable time because they are never on time (problem), then, like my reflux, I get no discernable result from the hassle and expense of seeing a GP.
    (Big problem). So you weigh it up and say, stuff it. I just couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of going to see a GP. (Oh that is me just being stoic). Is it now?
    And don’t get me started on the considerable power & influence they have over all of us. Thanks for your article. It needed to be said.

  5. Hi Peter,

    Totally 100% agree!! You are spot on with the problem and with a solution to boot! I do hope someone in power reads this too!


    Lorraine Swan (Bristow)


  6. HI Peter, I am not a GP, but work within the health system administration. I find your description of GPs as not real doctors short-sighted, juvenile, and lacking in forethought.

    GPs ARE specialists, A doctor with an MBBS is ‘just’ a doctor. A GP in the true sense, has spent at least another four years studying through a specialist GP college and sitting a raft of additional exams, which costs around $30,000 for those exams alone. A process that is identical to that which a surgeon, anaesthetist or a paediatrician will have also done.

    So far as an Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD) is concerned, these GP have completed a very high level of english language proficiency, much higher than any other profession, and THEN, have also completed another full set of exams to be equivalent to an Australian doctor (Aust Medical Council exams), prior to their post grad GP degree mentioned earlier.

    If it were not for GPs, you would be heading to a specialist, often paying well over $100 to find you were seeing the wrong specialist.

    In your example of Nexium….who is not to say this is a cardiac event?

    Your GP can do skin cancer checks, pregnancy checks, diagnose and treat infectious disease, set broken bones, mental health assessments and are first port of call for any cancer concerns, arrange blood tests, and all either subsidised by our federal government, and often under a bulk-billing arrangement

    The online GP you dream of would be completed by an algorithm, which would have no variance or questioning of any other illnesses or complaints you may have, or have overlooked in your online answering.

    It sounds like you go to those commercial, bulk billing, churn patients through, join the queue arrangement. My advice to you is to find a good family doctor who cares for you and your family.

    My family have been blessed to be able to be seen by our family doctor for the past 38 years. He knows me, I know him. He truly cares for me…..give it a go.

    You would likely pay well over $150 to take a pet to a vet for a consultation, so why won’t you consider a fraction this for your own health after all?

    What you believe is a relic, is fundamental to our No 1, first class health system in Australia. Without a GP, our health system would fall over and costs would be too expensive for many to be able to manage their own health care.

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