The average consultation with a GP lasts just seven minutes, so it’s vitally important that you get the most out of your visit. Here are our top tips:
Arriving 15-20 minutes early for your doctor’s appointment will give you plenty of time to check in and have your vitals (height, weight, blood pressure) taken, if necessary. Being early will also help you get as much time with your doctor as possible.
Write down your questions
Ahead of your appointment, it’s good practice to write down any questions or concerns that you want to talk about with your GP. It’s easy to get flustered in an appointment and forget what you wanted to ask, so write down your queries instead of trying to rely on memory alone.
Writing down your questions can also help you prioritise, so you’ll know what to ask first. It’s also a good idea to bring with you a list of all current medications, including any dietary supplements.
Share your family health history
Making sure your family health history is up-to-date is important before visiting your GP. Be sure to share any changes or new conditions that any of your family members might have experienced, since this information is very important when predicting the risk of any future diseases.
Be relaxed and honest
It’s natural that you might feel nervous or anxious when visiting your doctor, but remember that they’re there to help you. By relaxing as much as possible, it will help your GP deliver the best course of action for you.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about anything with your doctor. Leaving out details or lying about certain symptoms can be bad for your health, since this directly affects your care, so be sure to tell your doctor everything.
Ask all your questions and confirm next steps
Make sure that you get to ask all the questions that you have prepared during your appointment. Don’t feel like you have to justify being there and don’t leave your main concern until the end of the visit.
Before leaving, make sure that you know who to contact should you have any further questions after your appointment. Find out which services are available, as well as any support groups that could potentially provide reliable information.
It’s never too early to start taking control of your own health. Even when you don’t feel unwell, it’s a good habit to start visiting your doctor once a year. Here’s our guide:
Establish a good relationship
If you don’t visit a doctor, how do you ever expect to have a relationship with one? Many people have had bad experiences with doctors or hospitals in the past and now avoid these health institutions at all costs. But should you be risking your own health? Of course not, so that’s why visiting your doctor on a regular basis is important. Even if you’re not feeling particularly unwell, you should be going regularly to establish a good relationship, since this in turn will help look after your health in the future.
Keep both the body and mind in check
A routine visit to the doctor’s can do wonders for both your body and your mind You may be feeling good in your own skin, and simply assume you’re in good health, but there are other health markers, such as heart rate and blood pressure, that should be regularly checked. Regardless of how you actually feel, visiting the doctor’s and keeping on top of these things may improve your mental health and keep your body in tip-top shape.
Health protection and prevention are key to keeping yourself healthy for the long haul and regular visits to your doctor’s will ensure that you stay as healthiest as possible. It might seem like a hassle at first but one hour, or even less, at your doctor’s office could well add years of health on to your life.
Further health information:
- Find out about your nearest NHS walk-in centre here.
- Unsure whether you need a nurse, doctor or hospital? Here’s a guide to help.
- Here’s how to find your nearest GP.
- Information on the key health milestones you need to be extra vigilant in looking out for can be found here.
- What is an NHS health check?
Sources: NHS, AgeUK, UK Police
This information is for guidance only and does not substitute professional medical advice. If you are concerned about your health, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Not sure when to dial 111?
- 111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. You can call 111 and speak to a trained adviser, who is supported by healthcare professionals.
- They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care that applies to you.
- NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
You should use the 111 service if:
- You urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.
- You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service.