What does a hospital doctor do?

Job title: Hospital doctor

Where you’ll meet them

In an outpatient clinic before you go into hospital, or on the ward.

What they’ll do

Hospital doctors work in many areas, including medicine (such as cardiology or geriatrics) and surgery. They work at different levels from trainees to specialists to consultants. A cardiologist is a doctor who specialises in looking after patients with cardiovascular disease, such as angina or heart failure. They will carry out procedures such as angioplasty or fitting a pacemaker. Electrophysiologists are cardiologists who specialise in the treatment of heart rhythm problems. Radiologists are doctors who specialise in interpreting diagnostic images. If you need a heart bypass operation or other type of open-chest surgery, this would be carried out by a surgeon. Surgeons are referred to as Mr, Miss, Ms or Miss, even though they’re doctors.

How to recognise them

They should introduce themselves to you. Doctors don’t wear a uniform. Cardiologists and surgeons often wear theatre scrubs.

Making the most of them

Ask any questions you want to. It can be hard to take everything in, so take someone with you to the appointment if you feel that will help, or take a notepad and pen so you can take notes.

Training

5 years medical school, then two years general training, plus further specialist training.

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