One of the key decisions you make in your life will be: ‘Who should I choose as my General Practitioner (GP)?’ This person will be responsible for not just your health and wellbeing, but potentially that of your children as well. How do you go about making this important choice?
Imagine if you have moved to a new town or city and know very little of the area. How would you find go about gathering enough information to find the best GP for you?
First of all use local services. Find a list of which GP surgeries are in the area (local newspapers and public libraries are a good source of information).
In conjunction with local services, you could ask local people in the area; utilise the knowledge of your neighbours to see who they would recommend and what experiences they have had from GPs in the area.
Also, the NHS Website allows you to compare GP surgeries and provides as much relevant information as possible. There are seven different areas of information that they provide including:
- NHS star rating
- Number of registered patients
- Percentage recommended by patients
- Do they offer an electronic prescription service?
- Are they currently accepting new patients?
- Do they offer an online booking service?
- Can you order/view repeat prescriptions online?
These key areas should all factor in when you decide upon your GP. Other factors you may wish to consider are the location and opening times of the surgery and the transport links to it.
Location: Would you be able to get to the surgery? If needed, is the surgery serviced by public transport? Do you need your surgery to be near to your home, work or both?
Opening hours: Find a Doctors surgery with hours that suit you. Some surgeries stay open earlier/later to cater for people outside of their working hours.
However you may not always be able to access the surgery that you want. Each Doctor’s surgery will have a catchment area, and if you live outside of that catchment area then they can refuse you. As well as this, a surgery can close their patient list if they feel they do not have the staff to cover the amount of patients on their books.
Signing up with a GP surgery is not a binding agreement and you can change your surgery anytime you wish – all of your details will be transferred over to your new Doctors.
So when choosing your GP surgery, we highly recommend doing your research.
Frankly, based on the number of claims we receive due to GP negligence, it is one of the most important decisions you are likely to make.
Have you or someone you know been affected by GP negligence? Telephone 0800 234 3234 or 0151 321 1000 to discuss if you may be entitled to compensation for professional negligence.