General practitioner (GP)

Key points about a general practitioner or GP

  • A general practitioner (GP) is a doctor who works in a general practice clinic or medical centre.
  • You will have a GP as your family doctor.
  • They assess, diagnose and treat people in the community.
  • They work with people of all ages and have a broad range of medical knowledge on different health conditions.
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A GP is your family doctor. They assess, diagnose and treat people in the community. They work with people of all ages and have a broad range of medical knowledge on different health conditions.

Your GP is your first point of contact when you have a new illness or injury. They also look after your ongoing health issues and concerns if you have a long-term condition, eg, diabetes or high blood pressure. 

A GP works in a GP clinic or medical centre. 

A GP can help with: 

  • prescribing and administering medicines
  • performing minor surgery
  • referring patients to other health professionals and work with them to look after patients
  • assessing, diagnosing and treating people in the community
  • providing treatment and health advice on long-term conditions.

Video: Winter Preparedness Series 2023 - General Practice

Here's a video about GP services to support you with winter wellness. This video may take a few moments to load.

(Te Whatu Ora & Te Aka Whai Ora, NZ, 2023)

If you are sick and it's not an emergency, you should visit your GP clinic or medical centre. It's best to enrol with a GP if you are eligible for publicly funded primary health services. It costs nothing to enrol. Find out if you are eligible here(external link).  

If you enrol with a general practice, the cost of visiting doctors and nurses is subsidised. This means you pay less each time you see your healthcare provider. You can check the list of GP clinics around your area here. 

Most GPs have a minimum of 11 years training before working as an independent GP. They must also be registered with the Medical Council of NZ(external link) to work in Aotearoa New Zealand. Find out about different training options to become a general practitioner on the Careers NZ website(external link)

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Credits: Healthify Editorial Team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Dr Janine Bycroft, GP

Last reviewed:

Page last updated: