We always endeavour to keep to time in our surgeries. However, it is always possible that a doctor will be running late, because of unforeseen circumstances, or patients with complex problems that need more time than average. Should this be the case, both doctor and patient may feel pressurised, and consultations can appear rushed, and end up feeling unsatisfactory to both parties.
Help us to help you
Your doctor is trained in consultation skills. He or she can often recognize that you are worried about something, or have something difficult to discuss, from what you don’t say! Nevertheless, you are more likely to have a satisfactory consultation if you are able to tell the doctor what you want in a clear and concise way.
Know what you’re going to say. Outline your problems clearly. Try to start with the problem that troubles you most. Some patients feel uncomfortable about producing a list of things that they would like to discuss; many doctors feel that this is a good idea, as all your concerns will be addressed. If you have been advised that you have a short appointment, we ask that you discuss only one problem.
We would prefer that you told us more than necessary, rather than omitting important information. We would ask, however, that you remain aware of the constraints of time, and the needs of other patients, and try to keep your conversation relevant.
Listen and take the initiative
The doctor will give his or her opinion. We all feel that it is important that you understand what we say, and as much as is possible, agree with our formulation of the problems that you have. We will, therefore, always welcome requests for clarification of medical terms or explanations if the meanings are not clear to you.
Help us keep your records up to date
For a number of reasons, it is possible that your records are incomplete. If, for instance, you know that you have had a previous adverse reaction to medication, it is a good idea to mention this if you receive a prescription. Your notes can be updated immediately, as well as your avoiding taking a medicine with which you may have had problems.