Getting the best from an appointment

Here you’ll find information on getting the most from a GP or hospital appointment, especially if you have a long-term condition.

Preparing for your appointment

Whenever you see a healthcare professional – in a hospital, clinic or GP surgery – there are things you can do beforehand to make sure you get the most from the appointment:

  • think about what you need to know
  • make a note of the symptoms you’ve experienced (when you experience them, their severity and how they make you feel)
  • plan the questions you want to ask
  • write all this down before you go, so you don’t miss anything

If you’re nervous, ask a friend or family member to accompany you. Share your notes and explain to them what you want to achieve.

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During your appointment

Your healthcare specialist will expect you to take notes and ask as many questions as you need to. Try to:

  • be clear about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and be honest – they’ll have heard it all before, so there’s no need to be embarrassed
  • be polite but clear about what you’d like the doctor to do – such as refer you to a specialist or prescribe a different medication
  • take notes
  • ask for something to be repeated or explained if you’re not sure that you’ve understood
  • ask for printed information explaining any procedures or background on your condition

If you have a long-term condition, your GP or specialist will offer resources to help you manage your condition at home and, on diagnosis, will help you to create a care plan.

For more detailed information about getting the best from an appointment, please visit the NHS website.