5 ways to get more out of your GP appointments
Talk about only one issue
There is an unspoken rule that you are only supposed to discuss one issue in the GP surgery: and really it's a good idea. Of course if the issues are interlinked it's worth mentioning them all to give the GP the full picture. But realistically if you want to get back pain sorted out and properly treated, we can't then start talking about contraception and properly resolve that with only 10 minutes available. If you think you have a very complex health issue, or interlinked issues please let our Patient Services Team know when you book an appointment so they can ensure the GP is aware and make an appropriate booking.
Turn up early to your appointment
For various reasons, GPs themselves are often running late because of emergency situations or medical issues taking longer than a standard consultation. We try our best to run to time but sometimes it just isn't possible. It is really frustrating though when we are trying to be efficient and patients themselves are late: this puts pressure on everyone and makes for a rushed consultation that is no good for you.
Tell them what you want
I only know what you want from a consultation if you tell me. Any number of people turn up each week in the Surgery with knee pain: some will want a sick note from work; some a private referral letter for physiotherapy; some will want investigations and advice. Some simply want to be told if paracetamol is the best painkiller. At the outset it is good to set out what you want, if you know of course!
Write it down
Studies prove that consultation situations make people anxious, no matter how confident and together you are. It is easy in a consultation where you are feeling rushed, stressed or embarrassed to forget some of the more salient points of your medical issue. Calmly and quietly before the consultation, write it all down. Have a list of dates of your periods if they're irregular for example: you think you can remember them all, but in the pressure of the moment you may not. Writing a list of the symptoms you notice that worry you and the specific times they happen can be really useful.
Make sure you're in the right place
Receptionists are often criticised for asking patients what is the matter with them, but there is a genuine reason. Different doctors and nurses in the practice may undertake different types of work or specialise in different areas. You may also find different services are available in different GP surgeries and the wider healthcare community.