Have you ever auditioned your Doctor? Maybe you should think about that the next time you feel you come away with too many unanswered questions. You see a good doctor is one of the keys to good health. I take my role as a General Practitioner very seriously as I want to be a partner in improving your overall health.
Now finding a good doctor that fits your family and personality is a whole different kettle of fish and can take a few trial and errors. However, it is vital to form a long term relationship with your health practitioner as it is the continuity of care (seeing the same Doctor) that can improve all of your health goals. Did you know that research backs this argument in that those patients who doctor shop repeatedly have more health problems than those patients who have a consistent relationship with one doctor? An interesting point I think and one that I have seen time and time again. Women upset by yet another confusing opinion about their problems.
So what’s the best way of finding the right doctor I hear you say? Well, there are a few tried and tested methods I think.
- Phone a friend – personal recommendations hold much If you have just moved to a new area, then check out online review sites such as whitecoat, health-engine or true-local. Alternatively, ask your local pharmacist.
- Ask questions – not only of the doctor but from the medical staff to try and get a feel of the practitioner’s background. Ranging from educational achievements to expertise in specific medical conditions that you are maybe suffering from. Many health centers now have websites which detail staff member’s qualifications and special interests.
- Don’t be scared of the breakup! – Family Doctors are service providers after all, except the service is a little bit more important that fixing a dodgy tap! You would not call a shoddy plumber back so why would you trust someone with your health if you do not trust them?
The best indicators of feeling comfortable with your decision are straight forward when you think about it.
- The GP has excellent communication skills using plain English which is easy to understand
- You leave the consultation feeling confident and well informed, with a better understanding of your health concerns
- You feel comfortable asking questions and also not feeling like you are rushed out of the door
- The Doctor should imbue in you a sense of trust that they have the skills to treat effectively and involve you in making decisions about your health needs
So you were probably expecting a lecture on how you should stop eating those donuts because you are pre-diabetic. Well, don’t worry that will come later. No, the thing that is really important is that each patient needs to take control and responsibility for their own health. And it starts with having a productive relationship with your family doctor. I read a scary statistic the other day from the Centre for Disease Control. They stated that you are the master of your health and that 40% of premature deaths before the age of 80 years old, could have been prevented by lifestyle changes. Isn’t it this type of advice we want from our advocates for our health. To save us from an early grave by picking up on our poor choices and educating us? Moreover, how will you know any of this if all you keep doing is going to the after-hours clinic and seeing countless locum doctors. Therefore my lesson for you today is that the family doctor you chose should become a partnership. A long term relationship. Moreover, this I can honestly say is the most rewarding thing for me as a practitioner. Guiding my patients to a happier healthier future.