It makes sense to find a hospital consultant that specialises in your illness. They have greater experience of recognising symptoms and treating the condition, giving you a better overall service and chance of a speedy recovery.
There are specialist consultants in many fields, for instance:
- Allergy specialists – are scientists or clinicians that specialise in immunology, the study of the immune system. They treat diseases caused by harmful organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
- Plastic surgeons – are general surgeons that are especially skilled in cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. For example, they may perform cleft pallet repairs or breast reconstructions after a mastectomy, etc.
- Orthopaedic surgeons – specialise in disorders involving limbs, bones, muscles and joints. They deal with fractures, joint injuries, tendon injuries, nerve injuries, lacerations, wounds, arthritis and sports injuries.
- Neurologists – are scientists or physicians that investigate, diagnose and treat disorders of the nervous system. They may also be involved in clinical research and trials.
- Sports injury surgeons – are orthopaedic surgeons that have undergone fellowship training in surgical sports medicine. They treat injuries to muscles and bones in different areas of the body, such as the knee, hip, shoulder, spine, back, hand, wrist and foot.
Becoming a doctor involves studying for a Degree in Medicine, known as a Bachelor of Medicine, which usually takes five years. This primary medical qualification gives them one of the following abbreviations after their name: MB, MMBS, MBChB, BM and BCh.
The trainee doctor is then placed in a variety of specialties and healthcare settings to gain a grounding in practical medicine and develop core clinical skills. After completing Foundation Years 1 and 2, doctors can undertake further specialist training. It usually takes 4-6 years to complete Specialist Registrar (SpR) training, depending on the title.
The General Medical Council (GMC) holds information on all doctors registered to practice in the UK on its List of Registered Practitioners. This is updated daily and lists all primary and specialist qualifications of doctors along with other key information.