P.R.E.P.A.R.E – Make the most of time with your GP using this seven-step guide
Gone are the days when visiting your GP used to be a personal experience. Today, many local surgeries operate a tight schedule, often requiring you to ‘check in’ using a computer screen and summoning you into the room with your name flashing on a screen.
With surgeries now running like a military operation it’s no wonder that some individuals come out feeling like they haven’t fully resolved their problem, or that they didn’t have time to say all they wanted to.
Whilst it is a doctors responsibility to diagnose your issue or ailment, as a patient it is ours to try our best to communicate effectively so that they can help us the best they can.
Next time you visit the GP make sure that your P.R.E.P.A.R.E, which stands for Plan, Research, Explain, Prioritise, Ask questions, Return and Explore. Use these steps to maximise the time spent with your doctor:
Before you go think about your consultation and write down any questions you may have. Jotting down key symptoms when they occur and also how long you have been experiencing them for is also a sensible idea.
Whilst self-diagnosis is not recommended, the Internet can be useful for research and it could help to present a doctor with your theories.
Fill your GP in on the history of your complaint. Consider when you last felt well and what has happened since then. It is estimated that around 80% of diagnoses are made using just this information so it’s hugely important to give a comprehensive overview.
Whilst your doctor should not be rushing you along, it is best to get something that is really concerning you out first, even if it is embarrassing.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have and share your concerns. For example if you have a family history of a certain illness this could be useful information, or if you are concerned about something in particular your doctor may be able to put your mind at ease.
If your problem does not improve then you need to go back. Don’t ever feel that you are being bothersome or overdramatic. If possible, see if you can visit the same doctor on a return visit as they will be familiar with your complaint and will therefor be able to build a fuller picture of what is happening.
If you are not happy or comfortable with the explanation or diagnosis given then it is fine to challenge your GP. For example if they don’t think your stomach cramps are down to a chronic digestive disorder, why not? They should be able to explain fully.
If you are still not convinced then always seek a second opinion from another GP.
Following these simple steps will mean your doctor has the best chances of getting your diagnosis right first time.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.