In Great Britain, patients on average have just seven minutes with their GP. The BMA’s Doctor Patient Partnership offers the following advice to help you use this time effectively:
- Make a list of any questions / problems you wish to discuss before hand.
- Take a pen & paper as you may want to note down important points.
- Wear loose clothing if it’s likely you will need to be examined.
- Be prepared to tell your doctor of any non-prescription medicines or supplements you are taking.
- You can bring someone with you for support.
During The Appointment:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you don’t understand, ask your doctor to repeat it or write it down.
If you are prescribed a drug, make sure you know why it has been given to you, how long to take it for etc. Remember pharmacists are experts in medication and a very useful source of advice.
Be direct. If you have a problem that you find embarrassing or difficult to talk about, don’t leave it to the end of the appointment before mentioning it. Remember your problem is likely to a common one for your GP, who is there to help you.
One problem at a time:
If you have several problems it is more effective in the long run to concentrate on just one problem during the consultation than to have to rush through a list of problems. Be prepared to make another appointment so that each problem can be given the time it needs to be sorted out.
Be on Time:
Be on time for your appointment, or inform the surgery as soon as possible if you wish to cancel your appointment.
Make a separate appointment for each member of the family.
Under 14 Year Olds:
Accompany under 14 year olds. If however, a young person strongly wishes to be treated without his/her parent’s involvement, his/her confidentiality will be respected.