Southern DHB General Medicine - Southland
Public Service, Internal Medicine
Welcome to Southland Hospital General Medicine
What is General Medicine?
General Medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases affecting the internal organs of the body in adults.
Specialists in this field are called specialist general physicians. They are doctors who have trained in multiple specialties including diseases of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs. Often people have more than one part of the body involved in an illness or the exact cause of symptoms is not clear. The General Physician is an expert in diagnosing what is wrong and managing illnesses that are complex.
What is the difference between a Physician and a Specialist?
All Physicians are Specialists, yet not all Specialists are Physicians, for example, a Surgeon is a specialist in surgery that has trained with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
You may hear a Physician called a Specialist, a Specialist Physician or Consultant Physician.
What is the difference between a Physician and a General Practitioner (GP)?
Physicians complete at least six years of additional training in a medical specialisation after their basic medical degree and internship.
A GP may also undertake additional medical training, but does so through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
In some countries (United States), the term Physician is interchangeable with medical practitioner. This is not the case in Australia and New Zealand.
When does a patient see a Physician?
General Practitioners refer patients to a Physician for expert medical advice. Physicians also treat patients in hospital settings.
Our General Medical Team
The Southland Hospital General Medicine team consists of 7 specialist general physicians who are supported by a team of registrars (doctors training to be a specialist) and a team of house officers (a qualified doctor but junior to the registrar). Southland hospital is also a teaching facility, affiliated to the University of Otago and its Dunedin School of Medicine. Sometimes as part of this commitment to teaching, you will find a trainee intern (medical student yet to pass their final exam) working alongside our physicians while they gain valuable practical experience.
Hospital Admissions and the General Medical Team
Your First Assessment
The doctor who assesses you will take a detailed history of your symptoms and ask about previous illnesses and what medications you are on. Part of history-taking includes asking questions about what you do for a living, who you live with or what support you have. You will also be asked about smoking, alcohol etc. There will be other questions about your health designed to add helpful information to diagnose what is causing your symptoms. The doctor will then examine you. They will explain to you as they go the reason for the examination and then what tests or treatments are coming. You and your family can ask questions at any time during this assessment.
Ph (03) 218 1949, 24 hours / 7 days
PO Box 828
Was this page helpful?
This page was last updated at 9:51AM on April 28, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB General Medicine - Southland.