4 ways to have a successful GP appointment

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  • GP appointments can sometimes feel harder to get than a private audience with Beyonce. Here's how to get the most out of yours.

    As Britain experiences a major upheaval, we’re all preparing ourselves for impending doom. Or, you know, some uncertain times ahead. Following the EU Referendum result we’ve seen leave campaigners under fire for their broken NHS promises, and it’s no secret that getting a doctor’s appointment is already hard work as it is. With GP slots currently averaging just 8-10 minutes long and 1 in 4 surgeries having a waiting time of over two weeks, here’s how you can make the most of yours.

    1. Try to book a morning appointment
    The British Medical Association recently revealed patients have better results if they see their GPs in the morning. This is due to the risk of poor judgement from a doctor exhausted by a day of decision fatigue.

    ‘Decision fatigue is the concept that as we make more decisions during the day, they become less and less good quality,’ said Dr Rachel Ali at a London GP conference recently. ‘I know that I would much rather be one of my first five patient contacts of the day, than my last five.’

    2. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are best
    Mondays and Fridays are out. They’re the busiest days for dealing with input from out of hours services, residential care homes, nursing homes and secondary care, so your appointment is more likely to be delayed and rushed.

    3. Confide in the receptionist
    Your receptionist can potentially arrange a double (20 minute) or triple (30 minute) appointment for more complex issues such as mental health or gynaecology. If it’s something minor it might be possible for them to deal with it over the phone, or you could speak directly to a pharmacist instead.

    4. Do your research
    Contrary to popular advice, if you want to make the most of your time with your GP it’s important to Google your symptoms. Medics recommend searching patient.co.uk. Write a list of your problems, read them all out at the start of the appointment and don’t leave the most embarrassing bit until last.

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