Finding a GP can be very difficult in Tasmania and finding a GP who bulk bills is almost impossible. These are both issues Women’s Health Tasmania seeks to change as part of our policy and advocacy work alongside other women’s health organisations around Australia.
When you do get an appointment, it can be hard to cover all you need to talk about in the time available. Below are some tips from GPs and patients about how to get the most out of your appointment with your GP.
- Write it down. If you have more than one issue to discuss, make a list before the appointment, in order of your priorities. This helps ensure you won’t forget something you meant to mention. You might want to start a list on your phone notes or at home and add to it over time in between appointments.
Write it down when you’re in the appointment, too. During the consultation you might want to make a dot point note and read it back to your GP to check that you have understood them correctly. Alternatively, you can ask your GP to write down any complex instructions for you to take away.
- Book a longer appointment if you have more than one health issue to discuss or want to talk in more depth. Most GP’s ‘standard’ appointments are 10-15 minutes but longer appointments of 15-30 minutes or prolonged appointments of 30-45 minutes are usually also available. Giving yourself and the GP more time to fully discuss your health issue or issues can be a big help.
- Be honest. The more you tell your doctor about what you are experiencing the better they can help. This can include telling them about medical symptoms that feel embarrassing or telling them if you are worried about the cost of medications, scans or treatments they have suggested. If you have a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card mention this too.
- Consider seeing a ‘back up’ doctor in the practice occasionally. It can be helpful to occasionally see a different doctor in the same practice. This gives you an opportunity to get to know and trust another GP if your usual doctor goes on holiday, isn’t available when you need an appointment or leaves the practice.
- Take a friend or family member if you are feeling stressed. Having a trusted person with you can be helpful – they can listen, ask extra questions, help clarify or just be an emotional support for you.
Read all the articles in the Summer Edition of WHT Magazine at the link below