Making a doctors appointment

  • What is a doctors appointment?

    A Doctors appointment is a meeting to see a particular Doctor or specialist that is prearranged at a set date, time and place and will last around 10 – 20 minutes.

    It is usually during the day and could be in a room of a commercial building, medical centre or surgery, community health centre or hospital.

    Most people make appointments over the phone but you could also visit the room and talk to the receptionist.

  • Making the appointment

    Find the phone number to call and write it down.

    Before you ring, think about the times when you are not free, and check your diary or phone calendar to decide when you can have an appointment.

    Many people get very nervous on the phone, they mumble, forget what they want to say or mix up their words. A good idea is to write down a little script of what you want to say and have that nearby with a blank piece of paper and pen to take the details of the appointment.

    Dial the number and wait for it to be answered, some places you call may have automated menu prompts. This is a recorded voice that will give you choices and tell you to press certain numbers on the phone. You need to listen very carefully if this happens.

    When the receptionist answers, tell them your name and that you would like to make an appointment with your chosen doctor. They will then check availability and offer a date and time. If the appointment suits you, say you would like to book it, if it doesn’t suit, ask for an alternate date/time.

    Write down the details of the appointment. Ask if there is anything you need to bring to the appointment like Medicare card, healthcare card, referrals, scans or x-rays.  If you don’t know where the doctors rooms are ask for the address and get directions.

    Before you hang up, re-check all the details.

    Once you have made the appointment put details somewhere you won’t forget, like in your diary, in your phone calendar, a note stuck on your door or in a place that you look at often.

  • Going to the appointment

    If something comes up and you can’t make your appointment call the surgery ASAP. Some places will charge an appointment fee if it is cancelled too close to the time and they can’t fill the appointment with someone else.

    Always be on time for an appointment or try to arrive a bit early so that you are not feeling rushed. Plan how you will get to the appointment. Work out if you’ll walk, go by bus, train, taxi, bike, or car and how long the trip will take.

    Make sure you have everything you need with you, like your Medicare card, healthcare card, referrals, scans or x-rays and the appointment details and phone number.  If anything happens to make you late you can call the surgeryand tell them when you will be arriving.

    The first person you speak to when you get to the appointment will probably be a receptionist. He or she will ask for your name and check the details of your appointment. If you are seeing the doctor for the first time you may have to fill out a medical history info sheet. Quite often you will have to wait even if you arrived on time.