The relationship you have with your GP can have a significant impact on your wellbeing; if you trust your doctor, and therefore feel comfortable discussing your physical and mental health issues with them, you're far more likely to get the medical support you need to live a healthy, happy life. Read on to learn more about the steps you should take before selecting a GP.
Visit the premises and speak to the doctor
Visiting the practice you are thinking about registering with is a good way to determine if it's the right one for you. You'll have a chance to meet the receptionists and the doctor, and check that the premises itself are well-maintained. It will also give you the opportunity to see if the practice is in a suitable location (i.e. not too far away from your home or place of work) and has good parking facilities (if you drive).
You can either request a tour of the doctor's surgery or book an initial consultation appointment with a specific GP at the practice. The latter may be a better option if you want to have a more lengthy discussion with the doctor, rather than just a brief introduction.
During your visit, examine the condition of the premises; ideally, they should be tidy, clean and well-lit, with comfortable seating and (if you have children), a play area for little ones. Additionally, there should be leaflets available in the waiting room with information regarding the services that the practice offers (things such as home visits, immunisations, extended opening hours and repeat prescriptions).
When speaking to the doctor, pay attention to their overall demeanour. They should be friendly, professional, demonstrate good listening skills and be happy to provide detailed answers to any questions you ask them.
Ask about their billing policies
It's crucial to base your choice of doctor (at least in part) on their billing policies, especially if you're on a low income. If there's a private billing GP in your local area who has an excellent reputation, you may find yourself tempted to choose them as your primary doctor. However, registering with a doctor whose services you cannot afford could end up affecting your health and quality of life, as you may not be able to pay for the medical help you require if you develop an illness.
If money is tight, it's best to search for bulk billing doctors in your local town or city instead. This will ensure that, should you become ill at some point in the future, you'll be able to afford the healthcare that you need.
Hello, my name is Liam and I live in Alice Springs, Australia. I work pretty hard every day out on my farm, so it isn't unusual for me to have aches and pains. I hate going to the doctor so I normally pop a couple of painkillers or open a cold beer to deal with the discomfort. However, my wife kept on nagging me to see a doctor, which I eventually did. The doctor at Fidelity Health Choice discovered that I had a rare infection which was causing the pain. After a course of drugs, I fully recovered. I now attend regular appointments. I hope you enjoy my health and wellbeing blog.