Making the most of your GP check-up
Tips on what to consider when you next visit your GP.
Different people, different check-ups
Considerations for your check-up
- Tell the receptionist if you need a longer visit so they can try to schedule appropriately.
- Bring a list of any medications you take, including vitamins or supplements.
- Find out as much detail about your family history as possible. For example, saying “My mother had cancer in her 40s” is not enough. If you can, find out what type of cancer, whether any other family members have been affected and what treatment they received.
During the check-up
- Mention any particular symptom you are worried about – don't leave this until the end.
- Be honest about drinking, smoking and drug use.
- Have realistic expectations. If you have a long list of questions or concerns you may need more than a single visit. It is usually not possible for a doctor to be thorough and quick. Let the receptionist know when booking your appointment that you need more time, or, if you don’t get through everything on your list, ask your doctor when would be a good time to reschedule.
- Don't have an expectation that your GP will send you for lots of tests. These are often not needed, may cause a lot of unnecessary expense and can be associated with further unnecessary tests and even harm. Appropriate, targeted tests can be very useful; shotgun ‘let's test everything’ tests may not be.