Questions you could ask as a patient

Have you ever gone to your doctors and left wishing you had asked more questions? Have you forgotten exactly what the doctor said about a condition or diagnosis? The following guide is all about how to get the best out of your consultation with your doctor by asking the right questions. This will allow you to get the right information in order to make an informed decision about your health.

There may be different case scenarios where you will need this advice, for example visiting your G.P, having tests or treatments, going into hospital as an in/out patient, if a member of your family is ill and taking medicines. The same advice will apply.

What you can do:

  • It may sound obvious but write down any questions you may want to ask before going to see the doctor, that way you won’t forget any of those important questions you wanted to discuss. (Don’t be surprised if the doctor takes the questions from you, to read them and answer you as they go along).
  • Providing the doctor doesn’t mind you can take a friend/relative in with you so they can ask questions/listen as well.
  • Ask the most important questions first.
  • Be sure to tell the doctor what medication (if any) you are on and the doses/strength (even if you are taking herbal or complementary therapy/vitamins). If necessary write the name, dose and strength down.
  • Tell the doctor if you have any allergies.
  • Tell the doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be, or if you are breastfeeding.
  • Ask if you don’t understand any terms or jargons. If necessary ask the Doctor to write them down so you can look them up using accredited sources, following the consultation.
  • Ask for a simpler explanation.
  • Write down the main points as you go along.
  • If you are going to be referred for a hospital appointment, ask how long it is likely to take (waiting lists).
  • If English is not your first language or you are hard of hearing/visually impaired, advise the doctor and ask if they have any information in your preferred language/source.
  • Ask if there are any support groups you could contact for support/advice.

For further information on asking the right questions about tests/procedures, condition/illness, treatment, medicines or private treatment, click on the appropriate related link above.