Medical Practitioner

State/Territory Specific Information

Medical practitioners diagnose physical and mental illnesses, disorders and injuries, and prescribe medications and treatment to promote or restore good health.

Medical practitioners may perform the following tasks:



An anaesthetist administers anaesthetics to patients who are undergoing surgery and takes care of them during and after the operation. Anaesthetists are also involved in pain management.


A dermatologist specialises in the treatment of skin diseases such as eczema, acne, skin infections and psoriasis, using techniques such as ultraviolet light therapy, photodynamic therapy and laser treatment. Dermatologists also detect and treat skin cancers.

Emergency Medicine Specialist

An emergency medicine specialist diagnoses and manages serious and life-threatening health problems in patients of all ages using a wide range of medical and surgical skills, as well as resuscitation techniques.

Intensive Care Specialist

An intensive care specialist diagnoses and provides intensive medical care for critically ill patients, often through the use of organ support systems.


A neurologist studies and treats injuries and diseases affecting the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nervous system and muscle tissue.


An obstetrician/gynaecologist provides medical care before, during and after childbirth (obstetrics), and diagnoses, treats and assists in the prevention of disorders of the female reproductive system (gynaecology).


An oncologist manages the care and treatment of patients diagnosed with cancer, and may further specialise in medical, radiation or surgical oncology.


An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries and deficiencies of the eye.


A paediatrician diagnoses and treats diseases of children from birth to early adolescence.


A pathologist uses laboratory procedures to identify and diagnose the presence and stages of diseases and possible sources of infection in body tissues, fluids, secretions and other specimens.


A physician may specialise in one of many branches of medicine, such as internal medicine, cardiology (treatment of heart disease), rheumatology (treatment of arthritis), allergy, neurology, haematology (treatment of diseases of the blood and blood forming tissues), or geriatrics (diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting elderly people).


A psychiatrist diagnoses and treats mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.


A radiologist diagnoses and treats diseases using radiant energies such as X-rays, ultrasound, gamma rays and radio waves.

Sports Doctor

A sports doctor concerned with the treatment and prevention of sporting injuries caused by sporting accidents or overuse. They may monitor sporting performances and provide on-site medical treatment. Sports medicine practitioners also diagnose injuries and devise treatment programmes to assist sportspeople to return to training or competition.


A surgeon may specialise in many areas such as orthopaedic surgery (bones and joints), plastic and reconstructive surgery, ophthalmology, cancer surgery and otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat).

Medical practitioners are involved in a wide range of activities, including consultations, attending emergencies, performing operations and arranging medical investigations. When caring for patients, medical practitioners work with many other health professionals. They may also participate in and undertake research.

Medical practitioners sometimes have to deal with unpleasant conditions due to a patient's illness or injury. Adopting strict hygiene practices is important.

Depending on their area of specialisation, medical practitioners may have to work long, demanding and irregular hours. This may include working on weekends and at night or being on call 24 hours a day.

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