When should I Visit My GP?

“Minor ailments such as coughs and colds account for at least a fifth of GP appointments. In the absence of a local pharmacy, this figure can only rise, putting yet more pressure on local practices and extending waiting times for patients.”

The Guardian Healthcare Network



GP’s are under more pressure than ever before. Never has there been a more important time to ask the question, “When Should I Visit My GP?” It’s also really important to practice self-care as far as possible and educate yourself and those around you on how to spot symptoms of illnesses and medical conditions from the early onset. This will help in ensuring you’re in the best placed position to seek help and advice from the right medical service.


Before you make an appointment with your GP, it’s worth asking yourself if:


  • You consider your illness to be a common ailment
  • You think it can be treated by buying off the shelf medication
  • Your local pharmacist might be able to recognise your symptoms and provide you with a solution


It’s always better to explore these options first. If you confidently answer no to these questions, you are best making a GP appointment. If you are unsure, call in to your local pharmacy and talk to your pharmacist. After a discussion, they will be able to advise on whether your condition needs to be further assessed by a GP, in which case you should call to make an appointment.


Typically, GP’s deal with a wide range of health related issues including providing education on self care, offering advice on smoking, diet and contraception and providing examinations and administering vaccinations. If your GP decides that your condition requires specialist knowledge and care, they will refer you to a specialist for further tests and treatment.


If you want to find out where your nearest surgery is or learn more about GP Practice, visit NHS Choices.