Step 1 - Speak with your GP

Whether you have an ongoing issue or noticed a change that you'd like to investigate, your GP is the place to start if you have concerns about your health. 

Speak with your GP

Your doctor, or GP, is often the first port of call in the health care system when you’re unwell or have a health complaint that isn’t considered an emergency. Whether it is acute (a sudden onset of injury or illness) or chronic (an ongoing or long term complaint), your GP will begin the process of understanding what your health issue is, examining you and then running or referring you for diagnostic test. They will then use all of this information to make decisions about your care.

For your overall continuity of care, it’s important to develop an ongoing relationship with your doctor so that they become familiar with you and your medical history. You may need to consult with more than one doctor to find one that you are comfortable with.  

A GP acts as the coordinator of care if you are seeing multiple health practitioners for the same health issues.

If your GP has determined that next steps in your treatment are required, they may suggest you see a specialist. This may be at a first visit or may be some time into treatment for a complaint.

If your GP writes you a referral to see a specialist, see the next steps in our Going to Hospital Guide for suggestions of what you may expect and questions you can ask on your journey.

Go to Step 2: Get a referral

Patients can be referred to a specialist or consultant physician for treatment of their condition. Many people don’t know that a referral can be used for any specialist in the same medical specialty.