Getting the best from an appointment

Here you’ll find information on getting the most from a GP or hospital appointment, especially if you have a long-term condition.

For more detailed information, please visit NHS Choices - GP appointments.

NHS Choices

Preparing for your appointment

Whenever you see a healthcare professional – in a hospital, clinic or GP surgery – there are things you can do beforehand to make sure you get the most from the appointment.

  • think about what you need to know
  • make a note of the symptoms you’ve experienced (when you experience them, their severity and how they make you feel)
  • plan the questions you want to ask
  • write all this down before you go, so you don’t miss anything 

If you’re nervous, ask a friend of family member to accompany you. Share your notes and explain to them what you want to achieve.

During your appointment

Your healthcare specialist will expect you to take notes and ask as many questions as you need to. Try to:

  • be clear about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and be honest – they’ll have heard it all before, so there’s no need to be embarrassed
  • be polite but clear about what you’d like the doctor to do – such as refer you to a specialist or prescribe a different medication
  • take notes
  • ask for something to be repeated or explained if you’re not sure that you’ve understood
  • ask for printed information explaining any procedures or background on your condition

If you have a long-term condition, your GP or specialist will offer resources to help you manage your condition at home and, on diagnosis, will help you to create a care plan.