Top tips when booking a GP appointment

Dr Richard Roope from CRUK’s Clinical Champion for Cancer shares his top tips when booking a GP appointment.

GP comfort

With Autumn just around the corner, coughs and colds and just feeling under the weather is inevitable. However, some symptoms could be a sign of something more sinister. Public Health England’s ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign urges people to more aware of their body and the symptoms they are experiencing. Getting out of breath doing things you used to be able to do, or having a cough that has lasted for three weeks or more, could be a sign of lung disease, including lung cancer. Breathlessness can also be a sign of heart disease. Those experiencing these symptoms should book an appointment with their GP to get it checked out.

If you're worried about booking an appointment, the following tips may help.

Pay attention to your body

Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Also listen if a friend or family member notices you have a sign or symptom.

It’s Ok

It’s understandable to be worried or embarrassed about some types of symptoms, but don’t let this stop you making a GP appointment. Your GP is trained to deal with whatever ailment is worrying you.

Get it checked early

Remember, you’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out. Seeing your doctor early could save your life as early detection can make it more treatable.

Be honest

Be honest with the Receptionist when you make your appointment. They are bound by confidentiality and are trained to recognise the importance of your symptoms to give you an appropriate appointment.

Write a list

Prepare for your appointment by writing a list about your symptoms: when they started, how often they occur and what makes them better or worse. Also write down any questions you want to ask your GP.

Comfort from a friend

Bring someone with you

It’s ok to bring someone with you to a GP appointment for support. This can be a family member or friend.

Ask questions

During the appointment, the GP may ask you a lot of questions, but this is so they can determine your diagnosis. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your own questions if you don’t understand something.

What next?

Ask your doctor about what will happen next. There may be a follow-up appointment or referral for tests. Ask what the tests are for and how or when you will get the results.

Follow advice

If your doctor recommends that you book follow up appointments, it’s very important make this with the Receptionist and attend the appointments. It’s important to see your doctor again if your symptoms persist and are concerning you.

What are your options?

If a medical condition is diagnosed, ask about your treatment options. You can discuss with your doctor what will be best for you, any risk of side effects and how long the treatment will take. 

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 10:17 am Health