Finding the right doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make.
That’s because your health may depend upon it.
Seeing a doctor is never high on your list of wants in any given week … we know!
But choosing the right doctor sure can take a whole lot of stress out of any health concerns you have.
It will also leave you reassured about how to best tackle any medical issue that may present.
It’s all based around establishing a great relationship with your GP and no two relationships are the same.
Most GPs are good communicators, personable and empathetic – you want that as a base line.
But the key ingredient is trust.
Trust is a two-way street and can only be built with positive experiences over time.
When you have trust between a doctor and patient, the patient is more likely to visit when they sense a problem.
And they are more likely to be open and honest about their symptoms, leading to more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes.
If you’re yet to find a real sense of trust and comfort with your doctor, don’t be afraid to shop around.
Here’s a detailed guide of what you should be looking for when seeking out a new GP.
Assess your needs
GPs have a broad range of medical knowledge but most specialise in certain fields or have particular areas of interest.
Consider your own family history, current health status and potential future needs to settle on a GP that’s right for you.
Word of mouth is the most reliable endorsement any person or business can hope for.
A personal referral from a family member, friend or colleague is more powerful than any paid ad or anonymous review.
Consider patient reviews
While not as reliable as a personal endorsement, online reviews are worth checking.
But don’t just look at the star rating, read what past patients are saying, weigh up the feedback and consider what may be relevant to you.
GPs in Australia deal with people from a vast range of nationalities, cultures, religions, values and sexual orientations.
Nevertheless, some are more sensitive than others and it is worthwhile ensuring the GP you consider aligns with or is tolerant of these.
This extends to your preferences regarding medications, treatments and healthcare decisions.
You may also wish to consider a doctor who is fluent in your preferred language if this is important to you.
Consider location and availability
The last thing you want to do when you’re unwell is to have to drive long distances across town to see your doctor.
If you have a strong relationship with your GP and they have moved further from your home than is ideal, it may be worth considering staying with them to protect the doctor-patient relationship you trust.
But if you are looking for a new GP, search close to your home and seek a practice with office hours and appointment availability that align with your schedule.
Ask about how the practice handles emergencies and the availability of home visits or after-hours services.
Evaluate communication style
When you have arrived at a decision, book an appointment to meet the GP in person and take the opportunity to have a general check-up.
Assess their communication style including the questions they ask you, their listening skills and willingness to answer your questions openly and honestly.
Ensure you feel comfortable and respected while talking with them.
It won’t always work. Sometimes, two people simply fail to click for no good reason.
Learn about your doctor
Besides their communication style, ask the GP about their approach to preventative care and health screenings.
Also ask them their views on anything else particular to you, be it heart health, mental health, reproductive or prostate health – whatever.
You may be seeking a doctor that practices holistic medicine.
Assess the clinic
Take a close look around the clinic when you visit.
Is it spacious, well lit and does it help you feel that little bit brighter inside or is it dark and dingy?
Assess it for cleanliness and the friendliness of its staff.
A good clinic should be well stocked with the latest medical equipment and use EHRs (electronic health records) to access your health records more quickly and effectively.
And it should have a nurse available to perform basic tasks like drawing blood if necessary, rather than having to send you off-site.
Look online or ask in person about the clinic’s payment policies, how it works and who may qualify for discounts.
Different clinics have different policies. A good practice will communicate this well, but make sure you take responsibility to find out the detail and ask questions if you need.
Book an appointment
At the end of the day, it’s usually a good idea to follow your instincts when choosing a doctor.
You may get a good feeling about a clinic and a doctor and it will probably be right.
But if you decide it’s wrong, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
Having a trusted relationship with your GP is one of the best things you can do for your long term health.
If you’re looking for the right doctor, there’s no better place to start than AHA Clinics.
Our two practices at Seaford and Seaford Meadows offer a vast range of caring and qualified doctors from all walks of life who have interests in many different fields of medicine.
Our purpose built, state-of-the-art facilities are fitted out with the very latest medical instruments and utilise cutting edge technologies.
The buildings utilise natural light that will have you feeling better even before your consultation.
Why not discover it for yourself?
Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.