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Getting the most of your GP Appointment

Getting the most out of your GP Appointment

We understand in can be difficult to wait up to 2 weeks to see a GP and then be limited to one problem in a 10-minute assembly line of patients. Our patients are important to us and we want to maximise the quality of our consultations with you.

Did you know GP appointments are only 10 minutes long?

We understand in can be difficult to wait up to 2 weeks to see a GP and then be limited to one problem in a 10-minute assembly line of patients. Our patients are important to us and we want to maximise the quality of our consultations with you.

So here are our top 10  tips to help you get what the best from your GP:

1. Is your problem urgent or can it wait?

Many people book ‘urgent’ appointments out of sheer frustration with the wait for a routine appointment.  However, this means that we have less time to see those people who are very unwell and perpetuates the problem of waiting times. 

‘Urgent’/same day appointments, which are either face to face or telephone, are bookable on the day and ‘routine’ appointments are bookable from about 2 weeks in advance (usually with your choice of GP). You can book appointments in person, on the phone or online using our patient online access. We can also help you to book appointments in the extended hours service.


2. Could you see another healthcare professional? 

Please consider whether your problem can be dealt with by your local pharmacist with the Minor Ailment Scheme (e.g. common colds, tummy bugs, hayfever, travel advice).  

Pharmacists can assess your needs, give you advice, suggest medicines if appropriate, and if necessary refer you to a GP.

3. Arrive on time (or preferably, 5mins early)

We know we run late and it is irritating as your time is as valuable as ours.  But if our patients run late this has a knock on effect for the next patients and leaves the last patient waiting an awfully long time. 

It also starts the consultation well, and will give you time to collect your thoughts and lower your blood pressure before we call you in!

4. Dress simply

If there’s a chance we will need to examine your tummy or legs, or even your blood pressure, please wear clothes that are easy to remove, loose fitting and allow quick access.

5. Prepare-write things down/bring a list

GPs often ask how long a condition has been going on for, so it is useful to have a rough idea of timings: Write down important dates or measurements

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or problems with your periods please write any measurements for us to review e.g. blood pressure readings, sugar levels, or dates of your last three periods.  This shows GPs that a patient is involved and interested in their health, which means that we are working together to help manage the condition. 

Write a list of questions or symptoms if there are quite a few, so you ensure you ask everything that you’ve been worrying about.  We don’t mind lists as it gives us a better idea of everything that has been going on. We may ask you to book another appointment if we can’t deal with everything in one go.

6. Prepare even more! 

Read about your condition and possible diagnoses. 

www.patient.co.uk and www.nhs.uk have some great leaflets and if you’ve read up you have more time to discuss the pros and cons of the options. 

Be open and honest about what you think the condition is – this can help us to either explain the condition or reduce your fears (if we think an alternative diagnosis is more likely).

7. Bring any relevant clinic letters or investigation results from specialists along with you. 

If they are in a different language please bring in a translation for us. 

If you speak a different language please ask for an interpreter when you book (this can be difficult to arrange at short notice).

8. If you are bringing a child under the age of 5 bring the red book. 

If you are pregnant, bring your maternity notes and a urine sample.

9. If you are expecting a referral and haven’t heard within a month please let us know. 

Often we can give you a telephone number to chase up a referral and save you waiting or help avoid things getting lost in the system.


10. If you are on regular medications and/or have a long term health condition e.g. diabetes, please come and see us for your medication reviews and health checks.

This is so that we can review how you are managing with your health, ensure your medications are working for you, and that necessary blood tests and monitoring are done to be safe; these are usually checked every 6-12 months. 

You don’t need to see a GP for these checks: Our clinical pharmacist, who is based at the practice, has appointments for medication reviews. And both our practice nurses and our clinical pharmacist see patients for long term condition health checks e.g. yearly diabetes and asthma reviews. Our health care assistants see patients for new patient and NHS health checks. 

If you are unsure who you need to see e.g. for smear tests, health checks etc., then please ask our reception team who can advise as to which clinician is best to help you.