The pressures on the NHS continue to be extreme. Because of this, the average appointment with a family GP only lasts a few minutes – 8 to 10 minutes per patient on average.
It is therefore important to get the maximum value for time when you do get to see you GP, so you need to plan your appointment, or the time you spend with your GP carefully, to ensure you cover all of the ground that you want to, and get the maximum benefit from the short time available.
As an alternative, those who live and/or work in London sometimes prefer to make use of the private, walk-in GP services that we offer here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall, where each patient is given as much time as necessary for their appointment. But even with a private consultation, it still pays to plan ahead to ensure you reap the optimum benefit.
List the important things you want to discuss
The most important part of planning ahead for your GP appointment is to make a list of the salient points you want to discuss; including any particular worries you may have. Start by jotting down the symptoms you are experiencing, otherwise it’s all too easy to forget something.
You need to include things such as when the symptoms first appeared, and whether there is anything that relieves or exacerbates them. If you think that your condition may be complicated, you can warn the receptionist when you book, and ask for a longer appointment.
Above all you need to be honest. If you suspect you know the cause, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t worry. Whatever it is, your doctor will have heard it before.
The other thing you should consider if you are a worrier or a nervous person, is to take someone along with you for support
If your doctor says anything that you don’t understand or are unclear about, don’t be afraid to ask him/her to repeat or explain it. If necessary, get the doctor to write it down so you can check it out later.
Be politely assertive
You must also be clear about what you’re expecting from your doctor; whether you’re looking for a simple diagnosis, or you want to be referred to a specialist. There’s nothing wrong with being firm as long as you are assertive in a polite way.
If your doctor does recommend special tests to be carries out, ask him/her:
- What is the purpose of the tests?
- What do does the test involve?
- How long will the test take?
- Who should you contact if you don’t receive the results in the expected time?
If you do seek a referral or special testing, don’t forget that it’s your right to pick the hospital you prefer to go to.
Questioning the treatment
When a treatment is suggested by your doctor, you have the right to ask:
- Are there other ways to treat the condition and if so what does your doctor recommend
- Will there be any side effects?
- How long will the treatment take?
- How will you know if the treatment is working?
- Is the treatment effective?
- What happens if you don’t have the treatment?
The benefit of planning ahead
By planning your consultation in this way you can be assured that you will get the best out of your GP appointment; whether your appointment is with your family GP in your home town, or with us here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall if you happen to live and/or work here in London.