Is Your Visit Really Necessary?
There are many sources of good advice available as well as this website. There is the information rack of leaflets in the main reception of the surgery and there are also information leaflets that you can obtain from hospitals. The BMA Guide To Family Health is an excellent reference book. NHS 111 is keen to offer advice either through their booklet Not Feeling Well?, or on the telephone (111).
Is Your Illness Self-Limiting?
Most coughs, colds and sore throats only require treatment of troublesome symptoms; antibiotics are of no value. Having symptoms is normal: we will all get muscular aches and pains, backache and spots from time to time; these will usually settle without treatment.
Is Your Request Reasonable?
GPs have no training in either dentistry or law. You would not ask a plumber to fix your car!
What Do You Need From Your GP?
While you are waiting to see your GP, think about what questions you are going to ask and what is important on this occasion. GPs cannot provide a good service when they are swamped with a large list of complaints to deal with. Limit your problem list to one or two, the most important. Resist the temptation to add: “and whilst I am here, Doctor...”. Your GP will ask whatever further questions are necessary to establish a diagnosis.
For instance, if you have a tummy problem and an examination is likely then do not arrive wearing your best corset! If you have a leg problem, wearing the latest tight jeans is not helpful. A recently washed foot is much more pleasant to examine than an unwashed one. Coats and hats can be safely removed and put on whilst in the waiting room.
If you are not able to attend an appointment then please telephone as soon as possible to cancel. Wasted appointments cause unnecessary delay for others, as does arriving late. Patients may not be seen if they are late, as the consultation remains at the discretion of the GP.
Only by you being thoughtful in your use of GP services will it be possible to provide a good service. Increase in demand will inevitably produce a decline in the quality of the service we can offer to our patients. This is not in the interest of the GPs or you, the patient.
Please help us to help you.