Six Ways To Make The Most Of Your GP Visit This Winter

Whether you visit the doctor regularly, or you’re lucky enough to only need to pop in once a year, you will know that the GPs work to a 15minute appointment schedule. Of course, sometimes appointments run overtime, and an emergency may mean your doctor is called away. So, to avoid the frustration of extended wait times, particularly over the busy winter season, the Kaipara Medical Centre suggests these simple tips:
1. Make an appointment. When you need to see the doctor, you’re best to make an appointment by phoning the clinic, or by using the new Manage My Health online service. (Ask at reception to for details on how you can sign up for this great new facility. You can also use it to check your test results and reorder prescriptions).
2. Write it down. Prior to your appointment, write down what you would like to discuss to make the most of your 15 minutes with your GP or nurse. If you know that you have a few different items to discuss, you may need to make a double appointment, although you will be charged extra for this.
3. Keep writing it down. According to a report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , 4080% of the medical information provided by a medical practitioner during a consultation is not understood by the patient. If you are not sure what has been said please ask questions and make notes that you can refer to later. It is very important that you understand what is being said and what you need to do next.
4. Have realistic expectations. From May this year the Kaipara Medical Centre (KMC) employed a sixth doctor in response to increasing patient demand. However, during the busier winter months there may still be times when you are unable to get an appointment to see your own doctor at short notice. That’s why they recommend booking an appointment before coming to the practice because if you just walkin, the wait time can be very long. Booked appointments take priority, unless of course your condition requires immediate attention, or is lifethreatening.
The centre also runs a duty clinic which is helpful if the GP you usually see isn’t available. You will talk to a nurse on the phone, who will assess your needs and if they decide you need to be seen that day, they’ll make an appointment for you to see a nurse and/or the duty doctor.
5. Use the Registrars. These are fully qualified doctors who work for 12 months under supervision in a training practice and Kaipara Medical Centre is a highly regarded GP training practice. John Issott, KMC Administrator, says “all the registrars we’ve had have been absolutely superb, smart, young doctors.” So, if you’re happy to see the registrar you may get an appointment much earlier. You can also be confident that they will always refer any tricky issue to a senior staff member.
6. Keep yourself well. You know the fear — you visit the doctor for a routine followup, but come home with a head full of germs you’re picked up from all the other sickly patients in the waiting room. If you are worried the friendly reception staff can provide a facemask for you — they’re free and available for patient use. And what of those plastic toys that kids drool and put their sticky hands over? It’s comforting to know they’re regularly put through the dishwasher to kill all the nasties.
It is also worth noting that the Kaipara Medical Centre is a GP practice that is funded to provide health care for their enrolled patients only. If you’re not enrolled with the practice, the doctors can’t access your patient notes and the cost of your treatment will be higher. While the Centre’s skilled staff can attend to some acute medical conditions, it is not an accident and emergency clinic. On average 23 ambulances are called per day for patients who come to the clinic but require hospital care.

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