Robina Doctors Frequently Asked Questions

Getting the Most out of your GP visit

Research indicates that the two most frustrating concerns of patients are, waiting too long to see their GP and not being given enough time when it’s their turn.

This paradox is even harder for your GP to manage.  Should your GP stop the consultation and say, “Sorry, your times up and even though we haven’t finished your consultation take this treatment and if you don’t get better get back to me”, or should you be given as much time as you need to complete everything that you have come in for?

Well, chances are your answer will depend on whether you are the patient in the consulting room or the one in the waiting room.

The standard GP appointment of 10-15 minutes actually averages 8 minutes of one-to-one with your GP. So it helps to prepare yourself before presenting to your GP.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT. Book an appropriate appointment.  If you have a long list of problems, tell the receptionist when you make you appointment.  Remember, you may have to pay more for the visit, but at least you’ll leave feeling more confident that you have had your problems addressed.

BE PREPARED. Enter the surgery with a clear idea of what you want to discuss.  Let the doctor know within the first 30 seconds you main reason for attending, so that your doctor can prioritise and structure your appointment.  It’s very difficult for a doctor, when you spend 6 or 7 minutes discussing your sore throat and then as you’re leaving, say “but doctor, the real reason I’m here today is…”.

BE FOCUSED. With the increasing cost of seeing your GP, it’s natural to want to get as much done at a single visit as you can.  It may however be more appropriate to see your GP more often and have more time for each particular problem, so that you can feel more satisfied with your care.

BE CONCISE.  If you are worried you may forget something, make a list.  Anticipate you GP’s questions about the symptoms and their severity.

BE HONEST.  Remember doctors have seen and heard everything, so you’re unlikely to shock them.  Be honest about bad habits.  Your doctor is there to help you through your problems, rather than judge you.  Avoiding the truth or missing out vital information may result in an incorrect diagnosis, or even worse incorrect treatment.

LISTEN CAREFULLY.  Once you’ve listed your symptoms and your GP has examined you, they are ready to make their diagnosis.  It’s vital to allow the GP a few moments of uninterrupted time to speak and share their expertise.

ASK QUESTIONS.  Use the last minute of your time to ask your doctor to explain things you may not understand.  Mention anything you think may be relevant, as your doctor may need reminding of things about you that he or she may have forgotten.  For example if you are given a script for antibiotics, remind the doctor if you are allergic to penicillin.

AVOID PHONE PRESCRIPTIONS.  Don’t make regular requests for telephone repeats.  Conditions change and your doctor may need to adjust your treatment.