Seniors: 5 tips on finding the right GP

While it may take longer than you would like, finding the right GP is imperative. You need a GP that you can trust, you feel comfortable with and that is available when you need them most. 

If you’re a senior, looking for a great GP in your local area, here are our 5 top tips for finding the right GP, for you. 

  1. Shortlist the GP surgeries in your local area

With GP surgeries only accepting new patients within certain postcodes, the place to begin your search is by compiling a list of prospective surgeries in your local area.

The easiest way to create your list of potential GP surgeries is to log on to the NHS England website, where you can enter your postcode and you will be given a list of doctors, surgeries and clinics that are in your immediate vicinity.

If you don’t have easy access to the internet, a similar list of information, indexed by postcode, can be found in your local library, local council building, or at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

  1. Location and opening hours

Once you have compiled an initial list of prospective GP surgeries in your local area, it’s time to narrow down your choices, by considering the exact location and opening hours of each surgery.

Whether you use a local map, or the internet, to ascertain the location of each surgery, check to see which are the most easily accessible. If you have any mobility issues, consider how you are going to make it into the surgery regularly, as well as whether your choices are close enough to permit the on call doctor to reach you easily during an emergency.

In addition to the location of your prospective GP surgeries, also be sure to check the opening times, as they vary widely. Do the opening times of the surgeries on your short list fit with your schedule?

  1. Visit three separate surgeries

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to choose the three surgeries which seem to be the most convenient in your local area.

Take the time to visit each surgery, ask the staff about any pressing questions that you have and pick up the information leaflets on the front desk, which detail the specific services that the surgery provides, as well as any specialities that its doctors may have. 

The investigation process can be extremely informative. Simply calling in, unannounced, for instance, will give you some idea of the customer service that you expect to receive in future.

  1. Seek out reviews and referrals

When it comes to choosing which GP surgery is right for you, the best place to start is by asking friends in the area for a referral. Have any of your friends had an overwhelmingly positive experience with their GP? Or a negative experience?

In addition to asking friends for referrals, consider searching the names of your prospective GP surgeries in online forums. People are quick to comment positively about their experiences, but are even quicker to comment when they feel that they have been mistreated. 

If an online search returns any references to clinical negligence cases, proceed with the utmost caution.

  1. Try before you settle

Once you’ve done your due diligence, it’s time to register with your preferred GP surgery. Choosing which GP is right for you, however, is largely down to personal preference. While a friend may recommend a certain doctor, he or she may not make you feel comfortable.

The best way to make your final decision on the GP that is right for you is to try a couple of different doctors within the surgery. Once you have had an appointment with two or three different doctors, settle on just one., Over the long term, it’s more beneficial to have a doctor that understands your case history deeply.