They are the reliable source you phone and chat about any concerns relating to health and wellbeing for you, your family and friends.
A lifelong partnership to support you as life changes, along with your daily activities and goals.
This is what you should look for in a trusted GP, ideally, your GP should:
- See you regularly to provide preventative care. This would include screening for risk factors and disease, working through all your symptoms and concerns holistically (mental, physical, socio-functional health), and keep your healthcare organised so you don’t need to worry. Healthcare should be proactive, not reactive to when you initiate an appointment.
- Spend time to listen. Most patients report in surveys they would like more time, more explanation and more advice from their GP. The typical experience in today’s health system can be feeling rushed and not heard as a patient. Make sure your GP spends time to sort through all your issues, however long that takes. Most chronic health conditions need 30 to 60 minutes in an appointment to manage properly, on a regular basis.
- Use clinical guidelines to inform day to day practice. Providing the latest research and evidence is important to ensure you get the best possible medical care to keep you healthy. Make sure your GP stays regularly up to date and can provide evidence and information to support recommendations for you, including for the planning of chronic health conditions.
- Work together with others involved in your care. Teams working together get a better answer for patients because no one GP can be an expert in all areas. Working in a multi-disciplinary team, which have meetings every day to work through patient cases and plan proactive health care, delivers the best health outcomes. This isn’t just writing referrals to specialists and allied health clinicians such as a physio, but blocking out time, sitting together and discussing all facets of your health to improve it as a team.
- Provide access virtually. In today’s day and age, technology is so readily available and often it’s not easy to get to your GP. Timely access to advice and support can mitigate problems before they get worse. Helping by phone, video, email or messaging is already the norm for seeing a GP overseas, so make sure your GP helps you when you’re not at the clinic, as well as when you are.
- Support you on your goals. Patients achieve the best outcome when they take charge of their own health and well-being. It is important that your GP understands your goals, your concerns and questions, and helps you take practical steps to feel healthier and happier over time. Having GPs “tell you what to do” doesn’t work. At all.
- Is engaged and invested to help you. Being sick isn’t fun and not getting better can be frustrating, confusing and expensive. Make sure your GP provides you undivided attention and is willing to go the extra mile to help you. If you’re sick during the day and can’t get to the clinic, will your GP do a home visit? Will they organise transport or help to bring you to the clinic? Doing what it takes to keep people healthy often doesn’t reconcile with 10 minute appointments where the experience is transactional.
Have you made the right choice?