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Just one more thing...


Hoarding every ache, pain and symptom until you can get your money’s worth out of your GP team? 





It’s human nature to want to save both time and money, but you are probably not doing yourself too many favours by walking in with a shopping list of complaints. Your GP won’t be able to do justice to everything on your list, and something important may well get overlooked in the rush. General practitioners are trained to work quickly and efficiently, and they can do a lot in a very short time frame, however they work best when they are able to delve down into a single condition (or several related symptoms), than spreading attention over a vast array of different issues.


The average appointment time in New Zealand is less than 15 minutes. That’s including the time for you to walk from the waiting room to the consulting room, say hi, get the problem out, have an exam if necessary, then a chat, and any referral paperwork or prescriptions. So what happens to all the concerns that don’t quite make it on the table? And where do you start? Often it can help to have a frank discussion with your GP or practice nurse right at the start of the appointment, prioritise together what is most pressing and urgent, and then make a plan to address the what's left over in subsequent appointments (or even a planned double-appointment, where you can have twice the time). 


Your doctor or practice nurse will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to come up with a list in the first place – it shows you take your health and wellbeing seriously. They’ll appreciate it even more when you work with them to help you get the most out of your appointment, and the ones that are to come.



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