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6 ways to get the most out of your doctor's appointment

Here’s our prescription for making that precious 15 minutes work for you.

By Maria Hoyle
Does the following sound familiar? Your doctor asks, "So what's your weekly wine consumption?"
You do a rapid calculation, halve it, break off eye contact… and lie. If this sounds like you, you're not alone.
Studies show many of us fudge the truth, often, during visits to the GP. And according to 2018 research for insurer Direct Line, 71 per cent of GPs know you're being less than honest when it comes to alcohol.
Clearly lying to the person who might be your lifeline isn't such a great idea.
Instead, why not approach your doctor's appointment with the intention of getting the most out of your 15 minutes?
"Clearly lying to the person who might be your lifeline isn't such a great idea." Image: Getty

1. Tell the truth

Yes, it's right up there. Your GP isn't there to judge you but to assist you.
Also don't shy away from talking about anything 'embarrassing', like low libido or mental health issues. Your GP is unshockable. And they can help.

2. Be upfront with your worries

If you have more than one concern, tell the GP at the start.
That way they know how much time to allocate for each.
"Don't shy away from talking about anything 'embarrassing'." (Image: Getty)

3. Write down any symptoms beforehand

Be as specific as possible.
Take note of what kind of pain you're experiencing, for example, so you don't have to search for adjectives during the actual consultation.
Also, keep a diary of frequency of symptoms, what triggers them, when, where and so forth.
The more information you can provide, the better able your doctor will be to pinpoint the likely cause.

4. List your questions before you go

It's easy to forget to ask something crucial in the moment.

5. Ask your doctor for clarification

There really is no such thing as a stupid question; it's your health at stake so speak up!

6. Bring support

Take along a friend or family member – it helps to have someone else there to take in all the information and/or as support.

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