How to find a good GP
A GP is one of the most important people in our lives, especially if you have a chronic condition or develop a serious illness. An ongoing relationship with your doctor is important, so choosing the right one is a serious step.
The best doctors do more than just diagnose, treat and advise – they coordinate and manage your complete healthcare, referring you for the right tests and to the right specialists. They’ll help you stay healthier and limit unnecessary hospital admissions.
Shopping around for a local General Practitioner
To find a GP near you, search the terms you think are applicable to your situation. For example, if you are looking for a bulk billing GP in your area, Google “bulk billing GP near me”. Or, ‘bulk billing clinic near me’. For example, if you live in a suburb of StKilda, Google – medical clinic in StKilda or General Practice in St Kilda or bulk billing medical clinic in St Kilda.
Inevitably, you will see 10 or 15 clinics and practitioners listed on the first page. Google business listings will have ratings. Beware of the ‘medical industry curse of rating’. Good quality, a well-established clinic will have a rating of 3.4 – 4 stars. Newer clinics or small clinics with closed books will have a rating of 5 stars. It is nearly impossible to have rated over 4. The reason for that is unhappy patients leave 40 times more Google reviews for their doctors than the happy ones.
Things to keep in mind
Once you have identified a list of possible doctors, visit their practices and consider the following:
How comfortable is the location, online appointments
Can you get there easily? You might find it more convenient to see a GP closer to your place of work, rather than one near your home where you spend only nights and weekends.
Online appointments is ‘a must’ – patients should be able to see availability and be able to make an appointment with General Practitioner 24/7.
Length of the appointments
Ask Reception how long is the standard appointment. Generally, appointments of 15 minutes a sign of the good quality of service.
Extended hours is definitely an advantage. Working people prefer to see their doctors after hours to reduce absenteeism.
Male or female GPs
It is common that people make preference based on the gender of the GP.
Are the premises clean and tidy? Are they comfortable?
It is important for patients to have access to all relevant information e.g. how you will get your blood test results, costs, interpreter service, a range of services etc.
Accreditation by AGPAL or GPA is an important sign of safety and quality. Accreditation is voluntary.
Do not be afraid of bulk billing. Bulk billing practices are not necessarily poor quality, fast serving substandard. In most of the cases, the opposite is true. Medicare says around 75 per cent of all GP clinics are bulk-billing their patients.
Beware of the hidden private fees. For examples, some clinics advertise being bulk billing but charge sign up fees. That is not ethical and outright illegal billing practice.