What is a General Physician?
A General Physician is a highly trained specialist who has undergone many years of postgraduate training in general medicine and medical sub-specialties so that he/she is equipped to diagnose, prevent, treat and manage illnesses that affect adults.
General Physicians are recognized as experts in diagnosis of and treatment of illnesses from the most simple, to the most complex or rare diseases. They are not limited to one type of medical problem but often treat patients with multiple medical problems that may occur together, that may interact with each other, are often complex and persist over time (chronic illness). Examples of medical problems that a general physician may look after are a patient with heart failure, diabetes and dementia who has an acute stroke; or a patient with emphysema, depression and cirrhosis of the liver who has become short of breath. They may be the first specialist contact to help diagnose why a patient is losing weight, or why a patient has cannot climb stairs or why a patient has developed swollen ankles.
General Physicians often work in hospitals with Emergency Departments. Their role in this setting is to assess and treat patients in hospital who become acutely unwell because of their medical problems. General Physicians will provide a global assessment to ensure all medical, health, social and psychological issues are identified.
As the patients get better, the general physician works with the patient and their family to create a comprehensive treatment plan that meets the needs and wishes of the patient. The plan will include the promotion of good health, the identification of genetic and other risk factors, the prevention of illness, the treatment of disease, the avoidance of side effects of medication and the creation of a health plan that recognizes the impact of illness on jobs, families, home life and psychological health.
General physicians are trained and are knowledgeable about the side effects of medications and the potential for medications to interact and cause side effects especially when given simultaneously to treat multiple illnesses in a patient.
General Physicians will provide this care not only in hospital but also in their consulting rooms. They will continue to see the patient until the issues are stabilized or resolved. The broad range of expertise and knowledge of General Physicians distinguishes them from other specialists who focus their expertise on problems involving only one body system or organ.
Professor Kesh Baboolal
MD, FRACP, FRCP.
Has over 30 years of clinical experience in general medicine having worked in leading academic centres in the UK, USA and Australia. He is registered with the General Medical Council in the UK and the Australian Medical Board as a specialist in both General Medicine and Nephrology. He has been awarded FRCP and FRACP form the Royal Colleges of Physicians in both the UK and Australia.
Professor Baboolal has been practicing as a consultant physician in general medicine since 1997. Since arriving in Australia in 2012, he has been practicing as a Senior Staff Specialist in General Medicine at RBWH and at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital.