29 May Choosing A Doctor? Who is right for you?
Whether you’ve recently moved to into the Wanaka area, or if you just feel ready for a change, choosing a doctor for yourself or your family is an important step in managing your health care. Your primary care doctor or General Practitioner (GP) and the team within their medical centre become your health care “home”. It is the first port of call for addressing almost all your medical needs, from routine or preventative health checks to more urgent or emergency care.
So how do you choose? The best time to do your research and make this decision is when you are well, and not under pressure. Don’t wait until illness strikes and you are stressed by the need for an urgent choice. Take some time to check out your options and consider your personal needs. Asking others for recommendations can give you some useful information, but ultimately you need to choose someone who you think will be suited to your unique individual needs and situation. Do you want someone with a particular background or medical speciality? Do you prefer a male or female doctor? Are qualifications important to you? What about the substantial knowledge base that comes from experience ?
All General Practitioners in New Zealand have general medical training – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery – followed by a period of vocational training and registration. Many GPs also undertake post-graduate study an area of specialisation that they have a particular interest in. At Aspiring Medical Centre, for example, Dr Simon Brebner has a Diploma of Sports Medicine; Dr Jayne Davies has Diplomas in Family Planning, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Travel Medicine; Dr Pip Clearwater and Dr Alex McLeod have both studied Child Health (Paediatrics) and Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and hold diplomas in these specialisations. While specialisations can be what you need at certain times, general practitioners mostly need to be generalists, having a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience about a wide range of health issues. Some, like Dr Fiona MacLean, just excel at being a good a generalist. Others have sub-specialties based on areas of interest unrelated to a qualification, such as Dr Mark Edmond who specialises in evidence-based natural medicine. In addition to this all our doctors actively participate on continuing medical education and also have specialist training and experience in trauma management and emergency care, through their work with St John.
Ultimately the most important consideration is selecting a doctor that you can build a relationship with. What looks good on paper, or works for your friend, may not feel like the best fit for you. Communication and trust are vital. You need to be comfortable having honest conversations and sharing intimate personal examinations and information with your doctor. You need to know that they have heard your concerns and answered your questions. You need to be comfortable with their consulting style and have the sense that you have made a connection which can lead to a meaningful and empathetic rapport.
You can find more detailed information about all of our GPs here and you can also read Our People, Our Doctors for extra little insights and information on our doctors here at Aspiring Medical Centre.
When you enrol with us, please tell us if you have a preference for seeing a particular doctor. We will note this on your file and try our best to make your routine appointments with that doctor. Be aware though, that if you need to come in for urgent care your preferred GP may not be available and we will book you in with the doctor who can see you the soonest.
We understand that you won’t really get a feel for whether you’ve selected the right doctor until you have a consultation and meet face-to-face. Talk to them about your needs, about any current medications you are taking and your medical history in order to be sure you are on the same page when it comes to managing both your expectations and also any on-going or chronic conditions. If for any reason you are not happy with your initial choice, we are happy for you to see a different doctor next time you come in. Just make your request to the receptionist or book on-line with the Doctor of your choice by signing up to our patient portal here.