How best to prepare for your GP appointment

The time we get face-to-face with our GP can often seem short! But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can prepare yourself for your appointment ahead of time. We suggest writing a list of questions ahead of time.

What notes should I make about my symptoms?

  1. What are they? Aches and pains may be obvious but think also about any changes you’ve noticed – for example to your appetite, bowel habits, energy levels or general mood.
  2. Do your symptoms follow a pattern? Try to monitor how you feel over 24 hours.
  3. When did the feelings or symptoms begin?
  4. Is it recent or have you been experiencing this for a while?
  5. Is everyday life, for example sleeping, walking, working more difficult because of these symptoms?
  6. What are you concerned about in particular?
  7. Is there a family history that you think might be relevant?
  8. Make a note of any medicines you are taking or treatment you’ve tried, including medication for other problems.

What kind of questions should I ask?

  1. What do the physical signs or feelings mean?
  2. Do I need any tests? When and where would these be done and what would they involve?
  3. How will I get the results? 
  4. What should I do if the symptoms or health get worse?
  5. What’s the likely treatment and how long will I be on it?
  6. What help or advice can I and my family get from support services?
  7. Is there anything I should look out for and what should I do if it happens?
  8. Will the tests definitely show what is wrong or might I need more tests after that?

After your appointment

You may not remember every detail of your doctor’s appointment, most people don’t. This checklist is one simple way that may help you to recall the points that came up during your appointment. However, you should go back to the surgery to talk to the practice nurse or phone the GP about anything you are not sure of.

Find more help and information leaflets here