3 Things to Look for in a Great GP

It’s a jungle out there, and unfortunately healthcare is no exception. People talk about the cowboy tradies who take your deposit and don’t do the work. What about the cowboy GPs who rush you in and out and don’t give you any confidence or clarity about your health journey? Maybe it’s bold to call it out – but maybe It’s also really important. So if you’ve ever wondered what a really great GP looks like, read on…

preventative health checklist

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1.

They take their time, and encourage you to do so as well

So we all know that to do something properly it takes time and attention. When you go to see a great GP if you have multiple issues to discuss, they will break them down into what’s most important and start with those, and invite you to return to spend more time going through the rest of the things on your list. That’s because a great GP knows that rushing through everything in one go is not really doing justice to your needs.

Have you ever noticed those bulk billing clinics with their 5-10 minute standard appointments? A great GP won’t do that all day every day. How can they really give their care and attention to 6-10 people an hour or around 50 people a day? Could you give your attention to that many people and their concerns day in day out without compromise?

The best clinics will offer standard 15 minute appointments, and also make extended 30 minute appointments available. They will also have times of the day dedicated to those little niggles that don’t require as much in depth review such as repeat scripts where you and your GP have determined you will be on a specific medication ongoingly and medical certificates for a common virus. And that’s the only time they would ever spend 5 minutes on a consultation with you.

Ladies you wouldn’t go back to a manicurist who does a splotchy rushed job on your nails, and guys you wouldn’t

2.

They take a thorough history

A great GP knows that illness is as much about history and progression of symptoms as it is about the symptoms you are currently experiencing. If you see a GP and are rushed in and out within a few minutes without them already having or seeking knowledge of your family history or your personal history, then odds are they aren’t a great GP.

3.

They won't prescribe you antibiotics just because you have asked for them

Antibiotics might be one of the most controversial medications in general practice – although as a patient you may not know it! There is a big issue developing around the world, where strains of bacteria are adapting and becoming resistant to antibiotics. These antibiotic resistant bacteria can wreak havoc on our society, because it basically means illness that we can’t treat.

Bacteria are able to adapt and become resistant when they come into contact with antibiotics. This happens when people take antibiotics without needing them, and when they don’t use antibiotics appropriately (including not finishing the whole prescribed course of antibiotics, or using someone else’s antibiotics). It’s also not commonly understood that many illnesses are not bacterial at all – they are viral. If you have a viral illness then antibiotics won’t do anything at all. Nada.

So there is no way that a great GP would just hand out a script for antibiotics whenever they are asked for them, without actually confirming that your illness is bacterial (or at least doing a thorough assessment in order to obtain a reasonable belief that you have a bacterial infection). A great GP will instead explain the reasons that you don’t need antibiotics. If they feel you do need them, then a great GP will talk you through how to take the antibiotics properly, in particular how important it is to finish the course of antibiotics.

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