Changing doctors 

I have a GP that I trust. She makes good calls. And she knows me well – knows I hate taking medication, so tells me why I should. And she seems to know the best specialists. 

Several times my GP has been unavailable and I’ve stressed about finding another. I have gone to medical centres when things are not really bad but I need to be checked out quickly, throat infection and the like. (My GP can be hard to get in to see – the downside of being popular – and she takes her time with patients so is often running two hours late.) But I don’t want to see medical centre doctors for real needs and they rarely look at you as a while person, listening to the one thing you say is wrong and quickly getting you out the door. Given that many of them are overseas trained doctors, I don’t trust they know the right/best specialists. 

One time I tried a doctor recommended by a friend. I had a bad throat infection. I just wanted to be checked out before I left for the snow. To be trapped on the mountain with a secondary infection wouldn’t be fun. But I was in there for ages. I know I should appreciate the thoroughness (especially as this was the opposite of my medical centre whinge and she was trying to get to know me) but being quizzed about my uterus and periods when I wanted my throat looked at and getting a referral for an internal ultrasound and more blood tests was not what I wanted. (I didn’t go for the ultrasound or the blood tests and went back to my GP who didn’t think they were necessary.)

So 24 hours in from my knee injury and I still can’t walk. I try to make an appointment with my GP. I haven’t seen her since last year. The number is disconnected. Bugger! She must have retired!!!

What to do?

I contact some friends for recommendations. Of course, good GPs probably aren’t taking new patients. 

I am about to phone one when it hits me. I’m in another state. I need to put the area code in front of the number. 

Success! Well, of a kind. My doctor is on leave. But I will see her colleague. I don’t know her but at least I’m not starting afresh. 

Do you have a general practitioner you have been seeing for a long time? Do you stress about changing doctors?

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8 thoughts on “Changing doctors 

  1. A new medical centre popped up near where the BF and I lived, so we both went there. My requirement is a GP who is a walk from home, due to sick day notes and not previously having a car. I started with a new Doc there when the break up was happening – she was rubbish, young, and I stuck with her through that ‘problem’. But one day she wasn’t available and I rouletted a woman (gender is immaterial to me) and she’s FABULOUS. She’s also young, but whip smart and put dots together from incompetent – as in, diagnosed something that other one had been chipping away at but never explained. Anyhow… I love this new one, so much so, I waited out her 3 week holiday. She doesn’t know me yet, and beats herself up for it. But I’m super happy.

    I had a long relationship with the uni GPs when I studied, and was sad to move geographically such that it was no longer logical to see them. Transferring histories seems impossible.

    • I found my GP by luck. I used to be able to walk to her. She has moved surgeries three times, luckily each time closer to my current address. Sydney traffic being what it is, if she was still at her first place, I’d think about changing.

  2. Aargh, Lucinda, finding a new GP = hard, hard, hard. My GP of 21 years retired earlier this year, and I have just, as of yesterday, booked into a new one. I hate change, especially when it comes to a relationship that is so important. I canvassed all the medical people I know for opinions, and made a short list. Like Sarah, it had to be one within walking distance. Then I looked at all their photos on-line and made a snap decision based on appearance! It was highly scientific! I chose the one who looked like she could hardly sit still long enough to have her photo taken. She looks like a go-getter. If it doesn’t work out then I will have to keep looking.. it feels a bit like speed-dating..

    • I like your strategies. You don’t need science with relationships. When it’s right, you just know. My thing with photos is the doctor has to look healthy. My doc is very fit. But not bossy or militant like an exercise fanatic. And I need someone who explains things but accepts my point of view or choices. Doesn’t pull the “I’m the doctor authority thing”. But demonstrates her knowledge.

  3. I’ve had my same doctor for about 12 years and he is meh. I only go when it’s completely necessary. Close to home, at least. It is so hard to get a new GP that you basically have to wait for a new practice to open. If I have anything that comes up suddenly, I go to a nearby walk-in clinic.

    • How worrying to have a meh GP and not really being able to do anything to change. Walk in clinics can be OK but I never feel I get a decent level of care. Do doctors not want to live in your part of Canada?

  4. I’ve had the same Dr for 43years! We love him, our daughters their husbands and now our 4 grandchildren see him.

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