General practitioner

Your GP

Your general practitioner (GP or local doctor) is usually your main provider of health care. He or she should be your first point of contact for any concerns you have about your arthritis or other health issues. Your GP can help you coordinate your overall health care, including making referrals to specialists and health professionals if needed. Your GP may also have a practice nurse. A practice nurse can provide information and coordinate your care with the other members of your healthcare team.

Your GP is an important partner in managing your rheumatoid arthritis. They will probably make the initial diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and should then refer you to a rheumatologist.

Once your rheumatoid arthritis is fully assessed, your GP will see you regularly to check on your treatment and progress.  

If your GP refers to you to an allied health professional, such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, as part of a care plan, you may be able to have five sessions per year funded by Medicare. Ask your GP for more information.