It’s comforting to know there is a reliable expert to call when you or a close family member are injured or sick. Your local general practitioner (GP) plays this important role and is usually the first to contact with healthcare concerns.
You want to know that you’re taking all the proper steps in keeping up with your family’s health, especially when your children are concerned. This article will give you necessary information on why your child needs a local GP and tips on how you can find the right one for your family.
Why Your Child Needs a GP
GPs are also referred to as family doctors because they offer comprehensive and continuing health care for adults and children of all ages, including adolescents. You don’t always have to use the same GP as your child, since GPs can have different specialisations, such as women’s health.
Your child needs to have a GP when a healthcare expert is required. A child’s GP will offer a range of services that include:
- Child-centered healthcare checks
- Adolescent health (i.e. mental wellbeing, sexual health and contraception)
- Connections and relationships with allied health treatments (i.e. speech and occupational therapy, physiotherapy)
Your GP will also be used as a transition before and after an essential hospital visit. They are an excellent support system and will make sure that all your needs are being met.
Finding a GP
It’s okay if you don’t already have a GP – it’s never too late to find one. You can start your search by either asking for recommendations from friends or family or using the Find a Doctor service.
It’s normal to try different GPs before settling on one that fits. During your initial visit or phone interview, ask about each of the GPs in the practice to see who might be better with children, adolescents or kids with special needs. Other things to consider when you’re looking for a GP are:
- Accessibility (walking distance, sufficient parking, public transport)
- Opening hours
- Average wait times and time allotted with the GP
- Other available services within or close by
- Expertise with children or family needs
- Language and culture similarities
- Telehealth availability (as an alternative to face-to-face consultations)
There’s a lot to gain from building a good relationship with your local general practitioner. By strengthening your doctor-patient bond, your GP becomes an ally and an expert in you and your children as individuals. When your GP knows you and your history they can treat you more effectively. They can also direct you to an appropriate specialists or allied health professionals for care when it is needed.
Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health to improve health outcomes of the region. If you need extra assistance in finding a local general practitioner in your area, you can use the Healthdirect Service Finder.