The importance of finding a GP that suits your needs
Your GP is one of the most important people in your life as they help protect the future health of you and your family – should you also have dependants in your care.
There are certain factors to keep in mind when searching for a GP that is right for you.
Location, cost, opening hours and convenience
Their proximity to where you live and their clinic’s opening hours need to suit your needs, and you might also want to look at their fee structure too and whether they are a bulk-billing or private billing clinic. Some clinics are walk-in clinics which means you may need to expect longer wait times in busy periods, or the clinic may take appointments only. Given the Medicare rebate was frozen for 7 years many patients find that private billing clinics provide them more time and a more personalised experience. Having a trusted GP is one of the best resources your family can have.
Some clinics have more than one doctor, which means if your doctor was suddenly away for some reason, you might be able to see another doctor instead of needing to reschedule.
What to expect from a GP
A GP – otherwise known as a General Practitioner – is also known as a local or family doctor. They have a range of general knowledge about a range of different medical problems, and treat people of different ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.
GPs are unique as the only medical specialist with the breadth of knowledge to assess and manage the team-based care of all patients, of all ages, with all problems. GPs can address all aspects of your family’s care:
- Preventative health and cancer screening
- Lifestyle health recommendations
- Chronic disease management recommendations
- Mental health care and wellness
- Medication and Immunisation reviews
- Healthy ageing recommendations and coordination of aged care support
- End of life care
Your GP is usually the first person you seek if you have any health concerns. A GP can refer you on for to specialists for further tests if required. This generally occurs in fewer than 1 in 10 consultations with most issues being dealt with solely by the GP.
The right GP for your own needs
For adolescents and young adults, it is important to have your own GP – not necessarily the same one your family sees. You should have one that suits you. Sometimes GPs within a surgery will have special interests or skills which may mean you are better suited to one GP while your partner or children are better suited to another GP. Most good practices cater for this ‘internal referral’ process with GPs referring on particular cases to colleagues within their practice with specific skills and knowledge. Given the amount of work GPs do every week, they can get very good at dealing with certain conditions and often work in close collaboration with specialists in the field. This can make it easier, quicker and cheaper to deal with an issue. However, sometimes specialist care is needed and GPs are well placed to refer you to the most appropriate specialist for your issue.
Do your research
In choosing the right GP, it can also be helpful to:
- Use word of mouth. Ask trusted friends, families, your midwife, pharmacist or other local health professionals if they can recommend a GP. Tell them what you are looking for. Online reviews can also be helpful.
- Do quality control. Check if your GP is a registered specialist GP with the Medical Board of Australia here (link to AHPRA – ) https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx. This means they stay up to date with the latest research, practices, and information.
- Keep things personal. Your values and needs will guide your choice. For example, your culture or language might come into play. Or if you have diabetes and you know someone else who has found a GP with specialist knowledge in diabetes, then that GP could be your best choice.
- Look at how the GP practice feels. The “feel” or environment of the practice is important too. Welcoming receptionists, cleanliness, modern facilities, accreditation certificates and patient education materials or blogs are important things to look for.
GP relationship checklist
To choose the right GP for you, make sure you:
- Feel comfortable with them
- Can speak freely about yourself and your needs
- Can freely share your personal information with them
- Can ask them the hard questions
- Feel like you are being heard/listened to.
Above all, when choosing a GP, trust your instincts and choose who feels right.
Ready to find a new GP in Brisbane’s inner west?
We have recruited GPs who care about our patients’ multidisciplinary needs and who like to work in a team-based approach.
We have primary care nurses who are experts in community nursing.
We have recruited and partnered with expert allied health and specialist providers to meet all aspects of your care.
We have even employed a health coordinator to help those patients with complex needs coordinate their care.
Helping you achieve the best health is what drives us. Invest in your health and wellbeing by booking an appointment with us and experience the difference
If you’re ready to start your search, why not check out our team of specialist general practitioners to see if they could be the right fit. Make an appointment by phoning 07 3870 2525.