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Getting the Most out of a Consultation
Write down questions / problems you wish to discuss beforehand – be aware that a consultation routinely lasts fifteen minutes, if you have a complex problem, or number of issues to address, then you may request a longer consultation. (This can be booked on discussion with Reception Staff, and advised on appropriate charges). You may need to make a follow-up appointment if there is insufficient time allocated to address all your issues safely and comprehensively in a single consultation.
Take a pen & paper with you, as you may want to note down important points. Wear loose clothing if it’s likely you will need to be examined.
Bring your current medications or an up-to-date list/prescription with you. Be prepared to tell your doctor of any non-prescription medicines or supplements you are taking. You can bring someone with you for support, but remember not to bring children, as some issues and examinations may not be appropriate for them to accompany you into the Consultation room.
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.
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. We will always deal with the most important/urgent problems first. Be prepared to make another appointment so that each problem can be given the time it needs to be sorted out safely and comprehensively.
Be on time for your appointment, or inform the clinic as soon as possible, if you wish to cancel your appointment, or are delayed for any reason.
Make a separate appointment for each member of the family. Inform Reception Staff when booking your appointment if more than one family member have same complaint/symptoms which may be dealt with in a shorter second family member appointment.