How to choose the right GP for you and your family
9 Questions to help you make the right decision
The right GP can make a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of you and your family.
As well as diagnosing illness, a good GP can draw your attention to problems you never knew existed, decide if you need certain tests, refer you to the right specialists and health professionals, monitor your progress, offer reassurance or advice, and keep you out of hospital.
If you have young children or a chronic or serious illness, your GP relationship will be especially important.
So, if you have just moved to the area or are looking for a new GP, one that you can feel comfortable with and can trust, see below some important questions to ask when choosing the right GP for you and your family.
Questions to help choose the right GP:
1. Are they convenient and accessible?
Depending on your situation, you may need to make regular visits to your doctor, so start with the basics and what best suits your lifestyle and healthcare needs.
Is the practice easy to get to from your home or work?
Do they have convenient opening hours?
Are they open on evenings and on weekends?
Is their parking available?
Can you book appointments online?
2. Are they taking new patients?
This will help refine your search from the get go, enquire as to whether the doctors are taking new patients and when they have availabilities open.
3. What qualifications and accreditations do they have?
Continual advances in medicine and practice guidelines mean doctors and their staff need to regularly update their skills to meet the needs and expectations of the industry and their patients.
Many Australian GPs will have chosen to become fellows through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), a process that involves special training and professional development.
When choosing the right GP for you it is important to consider their qualifications, credentials and interests. This can help you to determine whether the doctor has the necessary skills, experience and training to provide suitable care for you and your family.
4. Are they professional, friendly and caring?
A visit to the doctor is usually not high on most people’s list of favourite things to do. While you can’t necessarily determine what will be prescribed as part of the consultation, you can determine the quality of the experience by choosing a medical practice offering an easy appointment process, pleasant and empathetic interaction and a streamlined booking process etc.
Is the enquiry process easy and streamlined? i.e. can you book online?
How quickly and effectively does the team respond?
Do they make me feel comfortable and at ease?
Do they listen to my needs and concerns?
5. Is the environment clean and modern?
If the surroundings are clean, fresh and modern, and the environment is inviting, chances are the same can be said for the facilities and care provided.
6. Are other health services available onsite?
Most people prefer when possible to have all their health care needs catered to in the one easy location.
Is the medical practice located close to pathology, radiology and chemist?
Are there other allied health services onsite i.e. physiotherapy, podiatry, nutrition
Are there other specialists close by?
Do they have qualified nurses onsite to support GPs?
7. Are they genuinely interested in my health and history?
Understanding your health history is important in determining the most appropriate care.
Is the medical practice team and GP concerned about my medical history health?
Have they researched my medical history prior?
Do they have all my latest patient files and past notes easily accessible?
8. Do they proactively follow up on my health and well being?
Keeping on top of health checks and immunisations can be a challenge, a good medical practice and GP will help you to do this effectively.
Does the practice and GP remind me of checks and immunisations?
Will I receive regular health care updates relevant to my family and I?
Does the practice have useful communication channels I can access and utilise i.e. website, social media, apps?
9. How long will I have to wait?
Emergencies do happen and can at times throw the doctors schedule off for the day. It is important when considering your GP of choice to factor in expected waiting times. You can usually call in advance to find out if the doctor is running to time.
Red flags to watch out for:
A GP that doesn't seem to be listening to you
Feeling rushed during your consultation
Lengthy waiting times on a regular basis
A doctor who seems to jump to a referral or prescription too readily
A doctor who always has all the answers all the time and never admits they're unsure or don't know something
Ask others for recommendations!
There is nothing more trusted than word of mouth referrals. Ask family, friends, neighbours or colleagues what they like about their GP and where they go, or ask your health care partners i.e. dentists, physiotherapists etc for a referral.
You may not look forward to going to the doctor, but these questions can help you to choose the right GP and medical practice for you and your family and build the foundations for a long- term trusted relationship.
While it is useful to do some research before selecting a GP, the best way to determine if a GP is the right fit for you is to book a consultation, meet your GP and talk to them about your needs and expectations.
If you have any queries or concerns, our team are here to help and are happy to answer all questions no matter how big or small. Please contact 4352 8600.