In Great Britain, patients on average have just seven minutes with their GP. The British Medical Association's Doctor Patient Partnership offers the following advice to help you use this time effectively ...
Make a list of any questions or problems you wish to discuss before hand.
Take a pen and paper as you may want to note down important points.
Wear loose clothing if it's likely you will need to be examined.
Be prepared to tell your doctor of any non-prescription medicines or supplements you are taking.
You can bring someone with you for support.
During The Appointment
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
If you don't understand, ask your doctor to repeat it or write it down.
If you are prescribed a drug, make sure you know why it has been given to you, how long to take it for etc. Remember pharmacists are experts in medication and a very useful source of advice.
Be direct. If you have a problem that you find embarrassing or difficult to talk about, don't leave it to the end of the appointment before mentioning it. Remember your problem is likely to a common one for your GP, who is there to help you.
One problem at a time
If you have several problems it is more effective in the long run to concentrate on just one problem during the consultation than to have to rush through a list of problems. Be prepared to make another appointment so that each problem can be given the time it needs to be sorted out.
Be on Time
Be on time for your appointment, or inform the surgery as soon as possible, if you wish to cancel your appointment.
Make a separate appointment for each member of the family.
Under 14 Year Olds
Accompany under 14 year olds. If however, a young person strongly wishes to be treated without his or her parent's involvement, his or her confidentiality will be respected.