HEALTH: Making the most of a GP visit

How to Make the Most of Your GP Appointment, advice developed in conjunction with the Patient Participation Group

Step 1. Before you see your GP:

  • make a list of your symptoms
  • any worries you may have
  • any questions that you would like to ask
  • decide if it is urgent or if you need to see a specific clinician perhaps regarding a long term condition? If you have a number of issues that you would like to discuss with your GP, see whether it is possible to book a double appointment to give you more time to talk them through. Remember – a single appointment is 10 minutes.

Step 2. Be aware of how consultations usually work. Generally, your consultation will follow this pattern:

  • You describe your symptoms; the doctor asks you specific questions based on your history
  • Your GP may examine you, then will discuss what they think might be the issue and suggest treatment options or plans
  • You ask questions and discuss a suitable plan of action – ensure you understand.

Step 3. Speak about your important issues first.
Often people talk about something relatively minor to start with as a kind of ‘warm-up’. If your GP doesn’t know that the real problem is coming up, they will spend your 10-minute appointment discussing your minor issues. Be clear – tell the GP your real worries upfront.

Additional Information

  • If you are unsure, clarify your treatment plans. Ask your GP for more detailed information.
  • Bring a family member or friend for support if you need too
  • Remember some issues can be dealt with by the pharmacists (the Chemist), health care assistant, practice nurse or nurse practitioner.
  • If you need an interpreter or additional communication aids during consultation, please enquire with practice staff beforehand.
  • Be on time. Leave your children at home if you feel the discussion may not be appropriate for them
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