This term is applied to those conditions treated by a generalist consultant physician who can take an overview of the case, rather than a specialist in one part or system of the body. A patient would be referred to a general physician for a diagnosis, when this is not readily apparent.
Examples include complaints of tiredness, weight loss, feeling generally unwell or any other non-specific symptoms. The approach to diagnosis in such a case is to start with a thorough unhurried history, followed by a careful physical examination, then finally, tests or X-rays as required. Once a specific diagnosis has been reached, then appropriate treatment can be started, progressing to a cure or improvement in the patient’s condition.