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The journey to find my GP

In medical school we were told that doctors make the worst patients and we should not treat ourselves or our family members. Despite this being sound advice it wasn’t until I became a mother that I really followed through. Growing up, my parents were GPs so I tended to just speak with them for medical advice. Once I became a doctor, I would see a colleague at work. This was definitely not ideal. If I ever did have something personal to discuss, I doubt that I would have been comfortable talking about it.

In an effort to find a GP that I did not know personally or work with professionally, I shamelessly used my first child as a guinea pig. I had done my research and found a local GP who had a special interest in women and children. I took my son along for his 6 month immunisations - a straight forward consultation that usually involves a discussion about milestones, a check-up for bub and then the needles. After a quick introduction, the doctor left the room and returned with the baby scales. She informed me that I should weigh him while she got the needles ready. She left the room again. On her return, she asked me his weight, if he had any allergies then gave him his immunisations. That was the end of our consultation. It lasted 5 minutes tops and I left feeling very dissatisfied.

Fast forward 2yrs.

This time I used my pregnancy with our second child as my incentive to find a GP. I tried someone recommended by a work colleague and things went better 2nd time around. She was thorough in her questions, spent the time necessary to explain things without assuming that I knew it all given that I was a doctor, but the consultation left me flat. I could not fault her skills as a doctor but there was something missing – a rapport, a spark, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I’m not saying that I wanted a new friend, but I did want a doctor that I could relate to.

Fast forward another 2yrs. Seeing a pattern yet?

After my third child, I developed sciatica to the point where I had constant pain down my left leg and a numb little toe. I finally plucked up the courage to try another GP after 5 months of suffering. This time I asked around and got a few names from the local mothers group. Bingo! This doctor was thorough, clear in her explanations, worked with me on a management plan that I could fit in with my life, and had a personality that just clicked with me. I guess third time really is the charm!

So what did I learn from this? Keep trying. There are some basic elements that you should look for in a GP (see ‘Finding Dr Right’ for my tips) and if you find one that you really click with then that’s an added bonus. It might take a bit of time and effort to find the right one for you but there are plenty of great GPs out there to choose from.

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