Finding a good GP
Often when you’re looking for help a GP can be the first place to go. Finding a good GP however is a lot easier said than done. It can be difficult to talk to someone you’ve met about things that are really tough for you.
What kind of service do you want?
It’s important if you have a specific concern to ask whether GPs at the practice will be able to support you. For example:
- Do you need support for your mental health? Do they have psychologists or psychiatrists at the clinic too?
- Are you looking for a male or female GP?
- Do you need a doctor who can prescribe Pharmacotherapy (which is where a doctor prescribes a medication to legally replace a drug)
- Are they available after hours?
- Do they have any areas of speciality?
- Do you need a test? Can they perform the test there or will you need to go somewhere else?
What do they specialise in?
Many GPs on top of their basic qualification have a specialist qualification. You can ask what doctors in the clinic might specialise in. For example young people’s health or sexual health.
Seeing a GP for your Mental Health?
All GPs can support you with your mental health. They will be able to assist you in seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist which is usually free.
- It’s really important if you have a prescription to check in with your doctor regularly around how the medication is going.
- Talk to them regularly about your medication. Make sure they’re the right ones for you.
How to maximise time with your GP?
- If it’s a complex problem, why not ask for a longer appointment. If the clinic is bulk billed this will be of no extra cost.
- It’s a good idea to make a list of things that you might want to ask the doctor before the visit. That way you’re less likely to forget during the consultation.
Who should come with me?
You can take a friend, worker or parent into a consultation only if you feel comfortable sharing information with them too. The doctor may ask you questions you might not expect so it’s important to be okay with sharing private information with them.
They may be a good support if you’re feeling anxious or to assist you in remembering any information or advice.
What to expect to pay?
- A lot of clinics bulk bill, those who don’t will often bulk bill to concession card holders.
- When you ring to make an appointment check whether they bulk bill or not or you may have to pay.
What to take?
You will need to take your Medicare card with you, if you don’t have one a number will be enough. If you’re unsure of the number the consultations receptionist should be able to ring Medicare on your behalf.
It’s important to remember that different GPs work for different people. It might be worth asking a friend, a worker or someone you trust if they know of a GP that might be suitable for you. Also remember if you feel like it’s not the right ‘fit’ try another!
You can find a list of GPs who bulk bill here.