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Southern DHB General Medicine - Otago

Public Service, Internal Medicine


General Medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and non-surgical treatments of diseases in adults, with approximately 3000 admissions each year via the Emergency Department. This fully acute service manages patients who are not specifically being managed by a specialty service, or who have multiple medical problems.

Eighty-five percent of acute stroke presentations to Dunedin Hospital are also admitted to General Medicine. All are admitted to the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU).

The General Medicine Team consists of medical staff, charge nurse managers, nurses, a service educator, ward receptionists, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech language therapists.
Specialists in this field are called specialist general physicians. They are doctors who have trained in various specialties such as diseases of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs. Often people have more than one part of the body involved in an illness or the exact cause of symptoms is not clear.  The General Physician is an expert in diagnosing what is wrong and managing illnesses that are complex.
Outpatient clinics are delivered at Dunedin, Dunstan and Clutha Health First hospitals. 


Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.


Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.

Referral Expectations

Hospital Admissions

If you suddenly become unwell and need to be admitted to hospital with a medical rather than a surgical problem, you will most likely be seen by the general medical team. If your GP (General Practitioner) thinks you need to be admitted to hospital they will contact a doctor on the medical team to request admission.  There is always a doctor from general medicine on call 24 hours per day.
General Medical Outpatient Clinic
If your GP wants advice about the diagnosis or management of an illness, they may refer you to this clinic.  Your referral is given priority depending on the information in the referral letter.  It is important that, if your condition worsens while waiting to be seen, you revisit your GP as we can see you sooner if your situation changes.  Prior to this appointment you may have some investigations undertaken such as blood tests, ECG (recording of heartbeat) or x-rays.  These are to help the doctor make a diagnosis or plan treatment when they see you initially. 
The medical outpatient clinic is also where you may be seen after you have been discharged from hospital to follow up any outstanding investigations or to see how you have improved or tolerated medications.

Contact Details

This page was last updated at 8:41AM on June 24, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB General Medicine - Otago.