How to prepare for a GP meeting | Right away

Every week, Edwin de Vaal ( 48), a general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or conspicuous question from his practice. This week it says: How do you prepare the conversation with your GP?

Why do you need to prepare a meeting with the doctor?

“This is useful for several reasons. First of all, it is nice for yourself to clarify your questions. During the consultation, you may just forget something. But it is also important for your GP that you prepare well. The doctor can only help you if he knows what your request for help is.”

You’ll see the doctor with a complaint that you want to get rid of, right?

“This is not always the case, as it turns out in practice. People sometimes don’t know what to expect from their GP. Calling a complaint is different from the formulation of a question.”

“I will give you an example: the other day a man with coughing problems came to me. I heard his lungs believing he might have corona. I was able to reassure him: it didn’t turn out.”

“A consultation takes ten minutes. As a rule, there is only room for a complaint or question.”

‘But apparently the man wasn’t helped because that same week he was back in the office. He said he was still coughing. When I asked him if he was afraid of lung cancer. He didn’t really want me to pity or calm him down, but to take him to the hospital for a lung photo.”

How do you formulate a help question?

“Think carefully about your complaint and what you want to know about it. Want to get rid of it? Do you have ideas? Do you want medicine, for example? Do you want to be transferred? Or do you want to be reassured? Be specific.”

“Don’t say “I’m coughing like this,” but “I’m coughing and I’m afraid I’ve got corona.” Or: “I coughlike and would like to be referred for a lung photo because I’m afraid of having lung cancer.”

“The GP will examine you anyway and not just send you to the hospital just because you want to. It is important that the doctor knows exactly what you are coming for and what your expectations are for a GP visit. In this way, you can decide together what is the smartest thing to do, what to do or not to do.”

Is it wise to “save” complaints and submit them all at the same time during the consultation?

“No. A consultation lasts ten minutes. As a rule, there is only room for a complaint or question. If you think you need a little longer, you can consult with the wizard if a double appointment makes sense. Nowadays, you can also ask more and more “small” questions by e-mail, if necessary with a photo. Also make sure you make your question clear.”