Most people think about good health care as getting their needs met on the day without wasting time. You have a cold…get an antibiotic. You’ve cut your finger…get it stitched up. You can’t go to work due to a bout of food poisoning…get a medical certificate. It all looks pretty simple. You think you shouldn’t have to wait long, it should be a quick visit, doesn’t take much smarts to treat this stuff, so any clinical person will do.
And some of the time you’d be right.
What’s not obvious to many people, particularly those who are younger, healthier or blessed with good genes, is that these simple presentations are not always what they seem. While many might be easily managed, sometimes your symptoms are a warning sign of a situation that is evolving into a potentially serious consequence. And missing the diagnosis at that stage might just delay your recovery or it might lead to a much worse outcome.
Even more important, is the fact that the quick visit you have with your GP lets them get to know you that little bit better and you them. And for all you young, healthy folk, the wisest decision you make for your long-term health is to choose a GP and stick with them. Even from your youth, there’s value in being known.
Growing a trusting relationship with your GP gives them a chance to anticipate health issues and step in early with advice and support, treatment if necessary, but mostly health education so you build knowledge and confidence to manage your own health well. When your GP gets to see you for all those odd little presentations then they can notice things that others may not, just because they know you.
It’s such a wasted opportunity when “I just see whoever I can get in to because all I need is….” implying that any medical centre will give you what you think you need. Sometimes this might be true and while you might come away satisfied, you’ve missed a chance to invest in your future health.
When you’re always seen by the same GP or at least by the team associated with your GP so that they can know you too, this continuity over time will provide you the safest care and ensure the best possible outcomes for your health.