Because of the importance of this relationship long-term, take some care to choose a GP that’s right for you. They don’t have to be perfect because no-one is, but there are a few critical factors to consider:
- You feel comfortable talking with them;
- They listen to you and seem to “get” you;
- They explain things in a way that you can understand;
- They’re available at times when you can attend the practice;
- You feel respected.
Remember that it might take more than one visit to reach a level of rapport that lets you really know if this GP will suit you. Try to avoid limiting your possibilities by pre-judging them. The key factors are those above and you’ll be surprised at how many different styles of GP will be able to fit the brief given time with you.
Because there will be times when your GP is not available, don’t forget the team working with them is available to support you and back up the good health care. Seeing another GP in the same practice allows access to your full history and minimises the chance of errors being made to manage acute problems. And your nurses are always available to help as needed, providing a vital piece of the wholistic team care that is the core of what is offered in a good practice.
Finally, never lose sight of the fact that you have a team supporting you and your GP and all efforts are dedicated to helping you fulfill your role at the centre of your team. The team will do their bit with education, information, treatment, engagement, and expect you to participate as much as you can in setting goals for your health and implementing plans to achieve them.
Make a commitment to one GP and health team and they’ll do everything they can to work with you for your best health now and into the future.