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Start > Resource centre > Articles > What to tell the doctor Part 2

So, be honest with your doctor. Tell him you've got more than one worry, and ask if he can deal with them at that time. If not, offer to come back again when he has more time, and could give you a double appointment. That's how I often get over this consultation hurdle - by sizing up the problems presented, tackling the most important, and then suggesting that the others can be dealt with in depth later.

Time also needs to be set aside to find out whether the advice has been understood. It has been calculated that a patient only remembers a third of what has been said in the surgery, and there's no knowing if it's the important third either. If you don't understand something, say so rather than get the wrong end of the stick, and start worrying over nothing.

Lastly, there is the door-knob situation. The patient talks about a seemingly minor problem. The doctor deals with it, and the consultation ends. The patient reaches the door and turns, saying "Oh, by the way, doctor - I've got a discharge." This starts the consultation all over again.

Don't be shy. Get talking about what is worrying you most as soon as you've sat down and said "Good morning". Try not to get embarrassed; doctors are trained to talk about delicate matters. Don't be afraid to voice your fears. After you've let them out they won't seem half so bad, and you'll have got the best out of your chat in the surgery.

Teacher: Michael
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.


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