Seven Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your GP Appointment

Young carers routinely tell us that GPs can fail to recognise the health problems that arise from their caring role. Helping GPs to identify and support carers of all ages within their practices is one of our main priorities here at North Tyneside Carers’ Centre.

Caring for someone can take it’s toll. Unpaid carers are often able to discuss the health of the person they’re looking after with professionals, but sometimes feel their role isn’t fully recognised and are unaware of the support they’re entitled. By putting your own needs second, both your physical and mental health can suffer.

Appointment times can also be limited, therefore it’s vital you know to best convey information to your GP. With that being said, here are a few tips on how to work with your GP and make sure you get the most out of your GP appointment.

Take notes
It can be easy to drift off topic when there is so much going through your mind. Before seeing your GP, write up some notes so you can be clear about what you want to say. Make a note of your symptoms, concerns and any questions that you would like to ask. This will also help GP’s get a better understanding of your situation.

Take a list of your medicines
If you’re taking any medication, make sure to tell your GP. Include both prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, including tablets, liquids or creams. Medication often comes with side effects and your GP needs to know about everything you are taking to best advise you.

Stick to the point
Do not feel like you have to justify being there. GP’s are professional healthcare experts that are there to help. Discuss the issues that are bothering you the most at the beginning of the appointment and feel free to take notes.

Get clarification 
It can be difficult to process a lot of information in such a short space of time. Don’t be afraid of asking your GP to clarify something you’re unsure of.

Seek further information
Often people leave GP appointments and think of questions that they would like to ask. During your appointment make sure you seek information on who you can contact to ask further questions, including any support groups that can provide reliable information. Organisations such as North Tyneside Carers’ Centre, Carers UK and Carers Trust all provide support to unpaid carers improve their quality of life.

Take a relative, carer or friend with you
If you are distressed or feeling as though your views are not being heard, take a relative or friend for support. They can help you understand or explain your situation.

Unhappy? Ask to see another GP
If you’re unhappy with the level of support you are receiving, you are entitled to request to see another GP within the practice. In extreme circumstances you can also change GP practices, although this is rarely needed. But you should always discuss your concerns with another member of the practice first.