The first step after identifying symptoms is to make an appointment with your GP. If you have any additional needs, you can ask for help with these when arranging an appointment. This can include help getting to your appointment, an interpreter – or anything else that might be specific to your needs. You can also bring someone with you to your appointment for support.
When attending your appointment, the GP will ask you to explain your concerns. This can be referred to as the ‘golden minute.’ The GP will listen to your immediate worries to try and understand what could be causing them. You should be prepared to explain, in as much detail as you can, your symptoms to aid the doctor in finding a diagnosis. Try to remember all your symptoms, when they started, if they follow a pattern, if they affect your everyday life or if anything makes your symptoms better or worse. It might be worth writing these down, so you don’t forget.
The GP will then ask questions to try and understand further. It is important to be totally honest and frank when answering these and try not to be embarrassed in your response, every bit of information is important and shouldn’t be left out.
You are allowed to ask the GP any questions. If you misheard something they have said or if you do not understand, you can ask them to repeat or explain. You can write down notes from your appointment if you feel this would help.
As your appointment comes to an end, find out your next steps. This could be making another appointment with your GP or a specialist to arrange tests. Repeat these back to the GP to make sure you understand their advice fully.
After your appointment, if there is anything you are unhappy with or you have any problems, you can contact your GP again for more advice or seek a second opinion. This is especially important if symptoms persist or more arise.