General Practitioners (GPs) are the doctors who look after your health from when you are born all the way through the rest of your life. They help with a range of health problems, working with professionals from almost every other health service, so are a very important source of information and guidance.

They are usually the best place to start if you or a member of your family has a health concern. GPs usually work in practices as part of a team that includes nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists, and other staff. Practices also work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, midwives, mental health services and social care.

When to see a doctor

You may need to see a doctor for a lot of different reasons, including:

  • Infections, viruses or general illness
  • Physical injuries, aches, pains or sore joints
  • Feeling sad or unhappy about something in life
  • Contraception, pregnancy and sexual health
  • Immunisations
  • Need help with staying healthy such as diet and smoking.

If you are not sure what is wrong but need advice, support or guidance on what to do next, contact your doctor. If your doctor cannot deal with a problem, then they will usually refer you to a hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.

The only time when you might go straight to the hospital is if you thought there was an emergency putting someone’s life at risk, or if you had been involved in an accident and thought you had broken a bone or needed stitches urgently.

For more information visit the NHS choices website

I do not have a doctor

If you do not have a doctor, you will need to register. Anyone in England can register with a GP for free.

Find a doctor near you here and enter your postcode. When you find a GP surgery near you check the website to find out how you can register. Some GP surgeries allow you to register online and others will need you to visit. You can also find out more about this here.

Visiting the doctor

If you have not been to a doctor before you may not know what to expect. There are things you can do to prepare including:

  • Write down the questions you may want to ask
  • Make a list of the medications you are taking (these could be ones you have brought at the pharmacy)
  • Write down your symptoms (why you are going to the doctors), when did they start and does anything make them worse or better
  • Ask someone you trust to come with you

To find out more you can visit the NHS website or watch the video below

If you have a learning disability and/or autism you may find this guide to visiting the doctor helpful.

Autism and ADHD Pathway Assessments

The pre-assessment pathway documents for Autism and ADHD can be found here. These documents have been developed in collaboration with education, health and care colleagues as well as parent carers, children and young people (CYP). They have been developed to support education settings, practitioners, and parent carers so that everyone better understands the pre-assessment pathway.

Last reviewed: March 22, 2023 by Sophie

Next review due: September 22, 2023

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