With the hassle it takes to book an appointment with your doctor you should make sure you take full advantage of it when you finally do see them. With U.K. surgeries allowing just 10 minutes for you to detail your problem, it can be difficult to know how to approach it without feeling hurried or missing out some valuable information.
Because of this, the British Medical Association is petitioning for GP appointments to be extended to 15 minutes, taking the number of patients seen a day down to between 40 and 60, whereas other EU countries can attend to just 25.
But in the meantime, here’s some advice on how you can feel reassured after your brief encounter with a professional.
Be up front
Even if you’re embarrassed by your problem you can’t afford to be vague during an appointment, as you may be missing out on valuable advice and treatment if you keep quiet. Likewise, don’t apologise or feel awkward about your setback – this is their job! They see plenty of people’s bodies each day and yours is no different, so don’t feel you need to make an extra special effort to be presentable for them.
Don’t miss out any crucial information when in discussion with your doctor, whether it’s medication you’re on, or previous health problems you’ve had that may relate to the current one. If you don’t feel confident enough to go through everything yourself, it’s not a bad idea to bring someone along with you who is familiar with your situation and can vouch for you if you forget anything.
Also, don’t go in with suspicions of what the problem might be if you don’t know. Just because your symptoms may match with a description on the Internet, doesn’t mean that it’s true. Google isn’t an expert!
The first thing you do when you sit in the doctor’s room is tell them what brings you there and every word you say is taken into account, so you must be thorough with your explanation. It may be worth reading your problem out before hand with a friend or family member, making sure you cover all areas and won’t slip up on the day. A doctor is trained to make a diagnosis from your one opening speech, so a lot rides on it, and there may be some details that set off a ‘red flag’ for them to urgently refer you elsewhere.
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