A General Physician is not the same as a GP (General Practitioner). General Physicians are highly trained specialists and/or consultants who provide a wide range of non-surgical health care to patients. They typically care for difficult, serious or unusual medical problems, usually in a hospital setting, and will usually continue to see the patient until these are resolved or stable.
The General Physician is different from other specialists because their medical practice is not limited to problems involving only one body system or area of medical knowledge. Rather, their broad training provides expertise in diagnosis and treatment of problems affecting different body systems.
With complex illnesses or conditions, a diagnosis may be difficult as many different body systems are involved and interact. A General Physician will consider a fully comprehensive assessment of the patient, taking a “global approach”. This allows them to detect issues and diagnostic possibilities which might otherwise be missed.
General physicians are excellent diagnosticians, and have special training in the usefulness and limitations of most diagnostic tests. They are also trained in the critical analysis of research reports and drug industry claims about new treatments. They are particularly knowledgeable regarding complex interactions of medications given simultaneously for multiple illnesses, complex and serious illnesses. Typically a general physician will also have an additional interest in a particular area of medicine, e.g. lung diseases.