How can I make the most of my appointment?

To make the most of your appointment with your GP, hospital doctor or specialist, think about any questions you want to ask beforehand.

Before your appointment

Before you go to your appointment, it's a good idea to make a note of a few things:

  • Write down two or three important questions you want to ask.  
  • Make a list of all the medicines you're taking, including any vitamins and supplements.
  • Note down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse.

Remember to take these notes with you. You could also take a relative or friend with you to help.

If you need an interpreter or any other help with communicating, let your GP surgery or hospital doctor know in advance so they can arrange this for you.

During your appointment

Always ask questions if you're unsure of what's being said. If there are any words you don't understand, ask for them to be written down and explained.

During your appointment, you may want to write notes about what's being explained to you. This may be useful if you need to look back on what was said. 

Before you leave your appointment

Before you leave, check that you've covered everything. For example:

  • Have you asked all the questions on your list?
  • Have you understood everything? If not, ask for it to be explained again.
  • Ask what happens next and when. Will you need another appointment?
  • Make sure you know who to contact if you have any problems.

After your appointment

Once you leave your appointment, remember to keep your notes safe so you can refer back to them if you need to.

Book any tests that you need and put the dates in your diary or planner. You should also know who to contact if you have any queries about your appointments.

If you're expecting some test results, make sure you fully understand what they mean. 

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Questions to ask at your doctor's appointment

Professor Sir Muir Gray talks about the importance of clear, accurate and reliable information to help doctors and patients make decisions about their health and treatment. Sir Muir Gray has worked in public health for 35 years.

Media last reviewed: 09/07/2015

Next review due: 09/07/2017

Page last reviewed: 03/08/2014

Next review due: 02/08/2016