Kids Health Info

Adolescent transition - finding your own GP - for young people

  • A GP, or General Practitioner, can also be known as a local doctor or family doctor. It is important to have a GP. You don't have to see the same GP that your family sees, you should have one that suits you. A GP has a general knowledge about a range of different medical problems. They will also treat a range of different patients in terms of age, gender and cultural background.

    Why is it important to have your own GP?

    Having your own GP will be of benefit to you and your health care. A regular GP can get to know you, help you feel more comfortable and able to talk more openly. They will also be able to develop a clear understanding of your health needs and therefore help you make the right choices for your treatment.

    If you don't regularly see the same GP it is harder for them to gain an understanding of your health needs and harder for you to feel comfortable and to trust them.

    Having a regular GP will mean that you won't have to keep repeating information about the history of your condition.  They will always have your medical records on file and will be familiar with you and your condition.

    It is important to choose the right GP for your needs

    Make sure you:

    • feel comfortable with them
    • are able to freely express yourself and what you need
    • are able to share your personal information with them
    • are able to ask the hard questions
    • feel like you're being listened to
    • understand the information they give you.

    There are many places you can get tips on how to find a GP, including:


    If you don't feel comfortable with the first doctor you see then keep looking!

    Costs

    Some GPs can bulk bill their patients. This means that all of the costs are covered and you don't have to pay. You should ask your GP's receptionist if they can bulk bill you. If your GP doesn't bulk bill and you have a Medicare card, some of the costs of a GP visit will be covered. This means you have to pay the left over amount, called the gap. The gap amount is usually around $20.

    Making the most of your appointment

    To make the most of your visit to your GP make sure you are prepared before you arrive. Write down:

    • the reason for your visit
    • your symptoms
    • any questions you have
    • and make sure you take a list of your medications and doses if these change.

    During your visit be open and honest with your GP, they want to help you! Write down any important information they tell you or anything you might forget. Always ask questions if you don't understand.

    Hospitalisation

    If you have to go into hospital for any reason it is important to give the hospital staff your GP's contact details. This is just in case the hospital has any questions you are unable to answer. Once you have been discharged from hospital, ask if the discharge summary can be sent to your GP. If not, ask for your own copy to take with you.

    Make a follow up appointment with your GP and let them know what happened, any tests you might have had and the results and if your medications change. Make sure you give them a copy of your discharge summary for them to keep on your medical file.

    It is also important that your RCH specialist has your GP's contact details so that copies of letters and test results can be sent to them.

    If you change your GP always give the hospital the new details.

    Key questions to ask yourself

    • Do you feel comfortable with your current GP?
    • Do you feel they listen to what you say?
    • Do you feel comfortable asking them questions?
    • Does your GP understand your cultural needs and are they willing to adapt treatments to suit your beliefs?
    • Can you make a longer appointment if necessary?
    • Is your GP easy to get an appointment with?
    • Do your GP's opening hours suit you?
    • Does your GP's payment plan suit you?
    • Do you understand the information they give you, and do they make sure they tell you in a way you can understand?

    Key points to remember

    • Keep a file of important information about your health. Include the business cards or details of your health professionals, lists of your prescribed and non-prescribed medications plus any herbal or vitamin supplements you use, recent test results, a summary of your medical history and care plans you might have. Also include other useful information such as your blood type and allergies.
    • Don't feel you have to continue your care with your family GP.  If you aren't comfortable find another GP.
    • Make sure you feel comfortable with your GP.
    • Keep your GP up to date with your health and any recent changes to it.
    • Visit your GP at least once a year for a 'once over' to keep you at your best.  Think of it like getting you car serviced to pick up any problems before they get worse.

    For more information

    The Royal Children's Hospital
    Adolescent Transition Coordinator
    T: (03) 9345 4858
    www.rch.org.au/transition

     

    Developed by the RCH Adult Transition Program. First published September 2012.


Disclaimer 
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.