How to make the most of your doctor’s appointment

bay cluster network with Dr Lamah and Reem El-Sharkawi

We are currently facing unprecedented demand for appointments in primary (GP surgeries) and secondary care settings (hospital). Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic has only made this demand worse.

In this article we will focus on how to make the most of your GP or hospital appointment.

 Please be on time 

It is important to be on time, whilst we are aware that sometimes surgeries or clinics do run late. This is often due to medical emergencies which have to take priority over more routine appointments.

Remember to give enough time for traffic or parking problems. If your appointment is virtual, make sure you are in a quiet area with good WiFi connection.


Make notes

Try to think about the details of your problem. If you have a number of problems, think of the most important first. Try to think about the details of the problem e.g. how long it has been going on / anyone else in the family had similar problems.

You may need to make further appointments for less urgent problems.

Some patients may find it helpful to make notes or bring a family member or friend with them.

The allocated time of 10 minutes per consultation, leaves very little time when taking into account this will include time for the health practitioner to write up the consultation, make referrals or request further investigations.



Remember to mention any over the counter medication you may have tried for the problem. You may also need to remind the health professional what regular medication you take, as this may be relevant to the problem.


Prepare some questions 

There may be important questions you would like to have answered. Making a note of these may help also.


During your visit 

Try and be as honest as possible.  For example; if you drink or smoke quantify how much.



If you need an intimate examination, you will be offered a chaperone. Furthermore, some patients may prefer a particular sex of health professional to perform a certain examination. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Health professionals are interested in their patients’ ideas, concerns and expectations. Try to have a think about these before your consultation.

As health professionals we would love for every patient to leave a consultation satisfied, unfortunately this isn’t always the case for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, then the earlier you raise your concerns the sooner this can hopefully be resolved.

Finally, we are lucky to work within a multidisciplinary team. Some problems may be more appropriate for the pharmacist, practice nurse or optician etc. If you are unsure then our hard-working receptionists will often be able to help direct you to the most appropriate service available.




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