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  • Writer's pictureDr Jonathan Tey

Is your GP right for you?

Updated: Jul 20, 2019

My recent move of General Practice locations from Inala to Greenslopes has prompted all sorts of responses as I’ve broken the news to patients. Responses ranging from “whaattt… who am I going to see now!?” to “you have gotta do what’s best for you” to “I respect that…” to “how dare you… (cheeky grin)

This got me asking myself what is it that makes a good GP? What are the attributes that I should strive to achieve and work towards as a GP? What should I be teaching my junior colleagues? and what should you ask yourself when looking for the right GP for you. Here’s my top 3.

1. Are they a good communicator?

When you are ill, you need someone who can explain simply, concisely and clearly what is wrong, why they think so and what can be done about it.

2. Are they prepared to admit they “don’t know”?

We all know a good GP should be knowledgeable and clinically competent. However, reality is, it’s impossible to know everything about medicine. It takes years to get through medical school and eventually recognised as a Fellowed, specialist General Practitioner; but lets face it – GP’s are humans too. A good GP may not have all the answers but should humbly be willing to spend the time to find them. This is a good attribute. Its also not an excuse for carelessness. A good GP never stops learning.

3. Do they take the time to listen?

Listen before advising. In that order. Did you know that the vast majority of diagnoses can be determined from a good history alone? Physical examination findings and other tests serve to confirm or refute a suspected diagnosis.

If you can’t confidently answer yes to the above 3 questions, I would be seriously re-thinking whether your GP is the right fit for you. Remember, just because you may answer “no” to any of the above, doesn’t mean it’s the same for someone else.

If you have a top tip to add, I’d love to hear from you.

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