Finding a good general practitioner is becoming more and more difficult these days as there is a shortage in the field. Physicians are choosing to specialize and go where the money is, whereas the GP may find it hard to stay afloat. However, skilled doctors are still available. It is simply a matter of knowing what to look for when choosing a GP. It is important to take some time to consider all of the options and choose the best match for you.
Do your research
First things first. Begin the search while you are well. The last thing you want is to running down a list of doctors or rushing into urgent care during a crisis. Take a look at your insurance plan and the list of participating doctors that are covered. Consider the location of various physicians. Convenience may be a factor in your choice, but should not be the reason for your final decision. Perform an online search of each general practitioner of interest. Look for pertinent details about the office, the doctor’s policies, and any testimonials. Ask friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors about their preferences.
Explore your options
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential doctors, narrow it down to your top three. Request appointments for an introductory consultation. From that point on it is time to go with your gut. Pay attention to the facility and the waiting room, its cleanliness, and efficiency of the staff. If you have an extremely long wait, you may want to look elsewhere. Does the office offer additional hours in the evening or on weekends? What if there is a sudden illness? Does the doctor allow walk-in visits? Most important of all, are you satisfied with you interactions with the staff and the doctor? Do you feel comfortable with the GP? Does the doctor make eye contact and have good personal skills? If you do not feel like the doctor cares about you, or you cannot understand your doctor, it is time to move to the next choice on the list.
Discuss your health history with the GP
If you have an existing medical condition, make sure you discuss your health history with each general practitioner that you visit. Find out if the GP has a wealth of experience treating your condition. Your primary care physician should also be able to direct you toward specialists should the need arise. The GP is at the front lines, assisting you in managing your health, monitoring your situation, making adjustments to medications, and recommending possible treatments. You should have confidence that your general practitioner is able to address your needs, especially when you may have complications due to various health problems.
Think about the size of a practice
Do you prefer a small, private office or will you accept a large clinic? There are advantages and disadvantages to each. A small office may give you that personalised service that you prefer. However, it will be more likely to have longer wait times and fewer opportunities to walk in without an appointment. At a large clinic, you may feel like a number. However, there are often many doctors working together as a team. Your GP may not be available, but someone else will be on hand when there is an urgent matter that needs to be attended to.
You need to remember that you need to put yourself in good hands when it comes to your care. Find a general practioner with a solid reputation. Make sure it is someone with a good ‘bedside manner’ and in a facility where you feel comfortable.
This post was written by Dunya Carter, a writer and blogger from Brisbane. Dunya writes for Ochre Recruitment, one of the best GP recruitment agencies in Australia. You can connect with Dunya on Twitter.