Difference Between GP and Physician

GP and Physician are both medical doctors. To a majority of people, it doesn’t really matter what the designation of the person treating them is, as long as they are getting medical treatment. To them, they are all doctors. In a sense, they are right. Whether it is a GP or a physician, the person is medically trained and is indeed a doctor. What then is the difference between a GP and Physician and why should it matter to you? This article will try to highlight the differences between the two types of doctors to make it easier for you the next time you need treatment and advice on any ailment.


GP stands for General Practitioners, and if the name suggests anything, they are general doctors (MBBS) who have completed their basic medical degree that takes 4-5 years of studies in a medical college. A GP is there to provide primary health care to people. Most of the people are used to seeing these type of doctors as they set up clinics where they see patients and are allowed to write prescriptions for patients. These are doctors who complete 4 years of medical school and then undergo another 3 years of residentship. In these 3 years they go through a lot of practical and hands on training in different departments of a hospital. It is GP who is the first doctor people consult when they have any health problem. GP is also referred to as a family doctor, an in a sense this is true because he develops a long term relationship with the family members of a patient and becomes a family doctor to all. GP does not have any specialty and as such does not carry any designation around his name, but he is a doctor who is better at diagnosing general health problems.


Physician is another name for a doctor, but this doctor has invested another 8 years of his life in medical colleges studying a special field of medicine. He is the holder of MBBS degree who pursues higher education specializing in a particular field of medicine such as cardiology, urology, endocrinology etc. This is when he becomes a physician. A physician is also sometimes called a hospital doctor as he is a specialist and different from GP. He is normally attached with several hospitals and looks after patients who are referred to by GP as these patients are critically ill and beyond the limit of treatment at home.

A GP, when he feels that a patient requires specialized care and treatment refers such a patient to a physician. There are several physicians in a hospital all looking after different organs inside the body of patients. Some examples of physicians are neurologist who looks after brain diseases, cardiologist who looks after heart patients, and endocrinologist who looks after glandular problems, gynecologist who looks after women’s diseases and so on.

Then there are certain types of physicians who work behind the scenes in science labs as microbiologists and pathologists.