Doctors & therapists

General Practitioner – Diagnosis, Treatment & Choice of Doctor

Family doctor

family doctor is a medical professional who works freelance in his own practice or is employed in a medical care center. He is generally regarded as the first point of contact for physical and psychological complaints or questions.

What is a family doctor?

General practitioners can be general practitioners without specialist training, general practitioners, paediatricians and, in some cases, specialists in internal medicine with a general practitioner practice.

The family doctor is the doctor who is perceived as the first medical point of contact in the healthcare system and who takes a very personal approach. In Germany you can practice as a family doctor if you complete a medical doctorate after the state examination or the medical diploma. This includes the clerkship – practical patient care – and the practical year, in which the focus is directly on the patient.

In Austria, in order to be admitted as a family doctor, you have to go through a doctoral program and a three-year cycle after graduation to become a doctor of all medicines. The rotation is about gaining practical experience in various areas of medicine that are previously determined.


The family doctor offers a wide range of treatments, his core tasks are advisory discussions, basic and preventive examinations and long-term monitoring and treatment of chronic diseases. He fulfills all primary care tasks and is responsible for the wound care of minor injuries, such as cuts or small lacerations.The tasks of the family doctor also include carrying out ECGs , lung function tests, infusion therapies and vaccinations . He also has a consulting function, for example in the area of ​​nutritional advice, smoking cessation or travel medicine issues. In addition, general practitioners are authorized to carry out aptitude tests to obtain a driver’s license and to prepare for operations.

General practitioners can also be consulted for psychological problems. Since he usually knows the personal circumstances of the patient better than most specialists, the family doctor can offer advice and identify where the problems lie. Furthermore, a family doctor can also have additional training. These include training in the fields of acupuncture , diabetes , emergency medicine, ultrasound and skin cancer screening. In the case of people in need of care or serious illnesses, the general practitioner also makes house calls.

Diagnostic & examination methods

The first visit to the family doctor begins with the doctor taking the medical history of the new patient and getting an idea of ​​the person’s life and environment. In the course of this initial consultation, the general practitioner inquires about developments during childhood and puberty, previous illnesses, allergies , operations that have already been carried out and past accidents.

He also inquires about the family’s medical history and determines whether the patient has an increased risk of illness or accidents – possibly due to the job he or she does. To classify the various symptoms, the family doctor uses methods such as pulse and blood pressure measurements, palpation examinations and examinations of the heart and lungs by listening with a stethoscope.

GPs also take blood samples, which are sent to a laboratory for analysis, and may administer vaccinations. To determine a ureter infection or a bladder infection , the family doctor also performs a rapid urine test. The family doctor is entitled to issue prescriptions for medicines and to write referrals to specialists and hospitals.

What should the patient pay attention to?

When choosing the right family doctor , you should consider that you won’t be changing so quickly in the near future. It is therefore essential that there is a certain sympathy between the patient and the general practitioner and that trust can be built up.Thus, if you feel uncomfortable with your family doctor or cannot trust him in any way, you should consult another doctor. Since a family doctor also advises on psychological issues, you should be prepared to express your own problems and conflicts with the selected family doctor without hesitation – this is unthinkable without trust.

Recommendations from friends, family members or neighbors should also be taken into account when making a selection based on experience. In addition, there should be a short journey to the family doctor so that you can reach him easily if the complaints are serious or home visits are possible.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.