Clinic Vs doctor's office

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emanko

Senior Member
Arabic- Egyptian
Can somebody explain to me , please, the difference between a clinic and a doctor's office? And can we say "a doctor's clinic" to refer to a private place owned by one doctor?
Thank you
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Went to the doctor's" is a generic expression, that is it covers a wide variety of circumstances. It does not mean a small place or a one doctor practice/US office. When I say I'm going to the doctor's, I am going to see one of eight doctors in a large health centre, where they do all sorts of community health care and even minor surgery. This health centre used to be called a clinic.
    I don't know about the USA but I seriously doubt there are any one doctor practices left in the UK, unless they are private practices.

    I do not mean I'm going to see a doctor at a hospital. I do go to a clinic at the hospital to see a consultant, a senior specialist doctor. 'Clinic' means the time the specialists see out patients. A 'clinic' can be held anywhere.

    I say, for example that 'I'm going to the rheumatology clinic at Guy's Hospital on Tuesday and the haematology clinic at St Mary's on Wednesday.'

    I hope that's some help. It could be a little more complicated but I wanted to keep a quite complicated situation simple. If you say why you are asking we might be able to give you more guidance.
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think these differences are cultural. It may also depend on the type of doctor and the work being done.

    I would not use clinic the way you said, but private places owned by just one doctor are not that common in the UK, certainly not in my experience. General Practicioners tend to group together and their buildings are often called surgeries (even though they do not do surgical operations there very often!)

    A specialist seeing patients for specific conditions is the most usual context to use clinc, and most of them working in the UK have their clinics in hospital contexts rather than rooms that they own themselves. The exceptions would be places like Harley Street where private patients see their specialist. I guess that these could be called clinics, but as I said, this is outside of my personal experience.
     

    emanko

    Senior Member
    Arabic- Egyptian
    Thank you.
    I have two questions:
    1- I'm asking because in my country, a doctor usually has their own private place(not shared with other doctors). So, in that case, should I say: I'm going to Dr.Johnson's (office or clinic) tomorrow?
    2- There are also places where you can find a group of doctors. It's more like a small hospital but only for outpatients; patients cannot stay there. They only go to see doctors for consultation. Will that be called a "clinic"?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    You can say
    'I am going to the doctor's', because that's the general expression however many doctors there are, but if you want to mention the name you would say 'I'm going to see Dr Johnson'.

    Your #2 place would be called a clinic. :)
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    In AmE, you will find a general practitioner at a "general health" clinic. A general practitioner ranges from a registered nurse (no M.D.) to an internist/pediatrician (M.D.). A doctor's office is run by a doctor (M.D.) and not a registered nurse (RN).

    From my experience, most doctors who work at clinics are on rotation, so they never stay there for very long. With a doctor's office, the doctor is usually more established and owns their office, whereas a clinic doesn't tend to be owned by those (doctor/RN) working there.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Thank you.
    I have two questions:
    1- I'm asking because in my country, a doctor usually has their own private place(not shared with other doctors). So, in that case, should I say: I'm going to Dr.Johnson's (office or clinic) tomorrow?
    2- There are also places where you can find a group of doctors. It's more like a small hospital but only for outpatients; patients cannot stay there. They only go to see doctors for consultation. Will that be called a "clinic"?
    1 - You are going to Dr. Johnson's office.

    2 - Yes, that is what we call a clinic. Doctors, nurses, nutrition counselors may be there. Many "clinics" or specialized to one thing, but many more are general health care.
     
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