Making the Most of your Consultation
Questions to ask at your appointment with a doctor or nurse
It is important that you get out of your appointment the answers to your questions. The doctors and nurses at Dollar Health Centre believe in a 'shared-decision-making' approach, where you are an equal partner in discussions and decisions about your health. Preparation before your appointment can help.
Before your appointment
- Write down your two or three most important questions.
- Write down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse.
- Ask a friend or family member to be with you, if you like. We generally encourage this, however due to COVID-19, we would prefer one person in the consulting room if possible during face-to-face appointments.
During your appointment
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. For example, "Can you say that again? I still don’t understand."
- If you don’t understand any words, ask for them to be written down and explained.
- Write things down, or ask a family member or friend to take notes.
What might be wrong? You could ask the following questions:
- Can I check that I’ve understood what you said? What you’re saying is…
- Can you explain it again? I still don’t understand.
- Can I have a copy of any letters written about me?
What about any further tests, such as blood tests, scans and so on?
- What are the tests for?
- Who do I contact if I don’t get the results?
- How and when will I get the results?
About what treatment, if any, is best for you
- Are there other ways to treat my condition?
- What do you recommend?
- Are there any side effects or risks?
- How long will I need treatment for?
- How will I know if the treatment is working?
- How effective is this treatment?
- What will happen if I don’t have any treatment?
- Is there anything I should stop or avoid doing?
- Is there anything else I can do to help myself?
What happens next and who to contact
- What happens next? Do I come back and see you?
- Who do I contact if things get worse?
- Do you have any written information?
- Where can I go for more information, a support group or more help?
Before you leave your appointment
- You’ve covered everything on your list
- You understand, for example ‘Can I just check I understood what you said?’
- You know what should happen next – and when. Write it down.
- Who to contact if you have any more problems or questions
- About support groups and where to go for reliable information, and
- For copies of letters written about you – you are entitled to see these.
After your appointment, don’t forget
Write down what you discussed and what happens next. Keep your notes.
- Book any tests that you can and put the dates in your diary.
- "what’s happening if I’m not sent my appointment details"
- "can I have the results of any tests?" If you don’t get the results when you expect – ask for them. Ask what the results mean.