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General medicine

Private General Medicine service in Dorchester, Dorset

General Medicine is involved with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and long-term medical conditions and symptoms. It is an extremely broad field and overlaps with many different areas of medicine. A doctor who has completed the strict training required for this discipline is known as a Consultant Physician.

Many of the people who visit our General Physician at The Winterbourne Hospital in Dorchester do so for help with one or more complex health problems that are not being properly managed with their current treatment plan.

Others will have been referred to us by their GP or a consultant in another speciality because of difficulty in pinpointing the cause(s) of their symptoms, or uncertainty about the best way forward.

The highly experienced Consultant Physician working on-site would be delighted to meet with you and to help you to get the expert guidance and support you need.  

Modern medicine comprises a number of specialities, including orthopaedics, cardiology, neurology, rheumatology, ENT surgery, and dermatology. This specialism-focused approach is often very helpful if you have a specific problem, as it makes it easy to get help from the most appropriate person.

However, people who have overlapping symptoms, with multiple potential causes, may struggle to get a clear diagnosis. In such cases, a Consultant Physician can be of help by overseeing and coordinating any investigations and treatments, and prompt referral to other specialists if needed.

Common reasons people visit our Consultant Physician for help include:

  • Headaches
  • Post-operative complications
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Diabetes
  • Pneumonia
  • Unexplained falls
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Breathlessness
  • Movement disorders (caused by Parkinson’s Disease, Restless Legs Syndrome etc.)
  • Tremors
  • Loss of consciousness (syncope)
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of mobility
  • Incontinence

The above list is only a partial overview of symptoms and conditions covered by General Medicine, highlighting just how broad the field is.

A private General Medicine appointment can give you clarity about the best approach to take going forward to treat your symptoms and improve your health. Our Consultants are experts in managing multiple complex conditions. They will determine what investigations you may need, and the order they should be carried out.

General Medicine involves a holistic approach, and your Consultant will work closely with anybody involved in your care, whether a friend, family member, GP, social worker, or carer. They will make sure you have the support you need at every stage.

On-site at The Winterbourne Hospital, we offer fast access to different medical specialities, including:

Your Consultant can arrange investigation and treatment within any of these specialities (and others). With access to dieticians, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists where required, you are well covered for expert input as needed.

When you visit The Winterbourne Hospital for your private appointment, your Consultant will take a medical history and will talk with about your symptoms, as well as any concerns or worries you may have.

Due to the complexity of many conditions a General Physician will see, regular review will often be needed. Treatment is rarely (if ever) achieved with a one-time “fix”. Optimal treatment involves close collaboration and shared decision making.

It can be helpful to have another person come with you to your appointment, whether this is a husband, wife, partner, family member, or close friend. They may remember questions to ask, or symptoms you have, that you may forget about at first. It can be hard to remember everything you hear during an appointment, so an extra pair of ears can be a big help.

Having discussed your symptoms, your Consultant will carry out a physical examination. They may also carry out tests to measure your memory, balance, strength, and mobility.

This will normally give them the information they need to discuss the next steps with you. It’s possible that no further investigations will be needed, and treatment can be optimised with slight adjustments to your current treatment plan. (For example, if you have prescribed medication, they may advise changing the dose, frequency, or the type of medication used.)

In other cases, further investigation may be required, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Urine examination
  • CT or MRI scan of the brain, chest, abdomen, or pelvis
  • Lung function test
  • Renal screen (involves blood tests and a mid-stream urine sample)
  • 24-hour heart monitor (Holter monitor)
  • Colonoscopy or Gastroscopy – to examine your GI tract/bowels
  • Balance assessment

Once any results are back, your Consultant will discuss them with you and walk you through the suggested treatment plan. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to talk through these with you during your appointment.

As the only local private hospital, many of our patients are from Dorchester itself, while others travel from other parts of Dorset and further afield.

We treat people with private medical insurance and self-pay patients, and you can self-refer to avoid delay.

When you choose The Winterbourne Hospital, you will benefit from:

  • Help from an expert – If you complex or multiple medical conditions, you will probably have seen a number of doctors in different specialities. A General Physician will approach things with a more holistic view, overseeing your care, and arranging any investigations as needed.
  • No waiting lists – We can arrange a private appointment for you with an experienced Consultant Physician without delay, so that you can get the help you need sooner.
  • Consultant-led care, always – Your Consultant Physician will work closely with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and support. Treatment options will always be talked through with you, and if have a concern or query, it is very easy to get in touch with your Consultant by phoning their secretary directly.
  • Remote appointments available – General Medicine appointments are normally done in person at The Winterbourne Hospital, but we can provide remote consultations by telephone or video call when required and where clinically appropriate.
  • Bespoke treatment – For anyone with multiple complex health conditions, it is important that treatment is tailored to their circumstances and needs. Treatment often needs to be reviewed at regular points.
  • Access to a wider team – Your Consultant has fast access to specialists in other fields, including neurology, orthopaedics, radiology, cardiology, and gastroenterology. This ensures you will always see the most appropriate person, no matter how complex your health needs.
  • Recommended by patients – In an independent survey, 98.4% of patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to family and friends.
  • Location – The Winterbourne Hospital is located just one mile south of Dorchester town centre and has a car park with 40 spaces.

If you would appreciate meeting with an experienced Consultant to discuss your needs, or for a review of your current treatment plan, why not book a private General Medicine appointment today?

We look forward to welcoming you to The Winterbourne Hospital and helping you to get the support you need without delay.