This is, in my experience, quite a popular question for journalists to ask which clearly reflects public interest in the answer. Given the time pressure on GPs nowadays, many people feel that they may have less time with their doctor than they had in the past. However there are a few straightforward answers on how to maximise your time, and your doctors, to get the most out of them.
Take advantage of technology
A lot of GP surgeries use texts and emails to keep in contact with you and also allow you to make appointments, send queries and order your tablets online. It makes sense to engage with these services to ensure that you are kept up-to-date and do not have to waste time on the phone when organising medication or an appointment.
Unable to see your GP because you are at work?
Did you know that a lot of GP surgeries are open either early mornings or in the evenings, some are even open at weekends. Take a look at the surgery website and see when they are open, it is likely that most, if not all GP surgeries will be open, early or late at least one day a week.
Keep things simple
Do not let problems build up. Your GP is unlikely to be able to effectively sort more than one problem out in ten minutes. You could push them to sort more but it means that they will be stretched for time and are less likely to be able to give each problem the time that it needs to be dealt with completely.
Continuity is the pinnacle of patient management and in an ideal world this would be possible every time. Unfortunately this is not always possible. There are cases and patients that I try to follow up as continuity definitely helps and even speeds up a patient’s recovery and overall wellbeing. If I need to see the patient I do have the ability to make the patient a follow-up appointment, your own Doctor may also be able to do this. There is no harm in asking.
At the end of the day every GP surgery is different and, having worked as a freelance GP, this is definitely the case and my advice may not work everywhere. If you feel strongly about the service that your GP provides you can always volunteer to be a member of the surgery’s “Patient Participation Group”, which all GP surgeries should run and allows their patients a forum to discuss matters that are important to them.