The three most important things in choosing your medical consultant/specialist are:
Going to see a doctor, especially a specialist can be scary and stressful. I have insider knowledge of some specialists that you do not have, so I had a slight advantage when I came to choose my specialist. Even so it was still stressful for me and would probably be more so for you. So, I have written this blog in an attempt to make the process easier for you.
This whole process is based on trust, trust that you have in your GP, trust that your GP has in the specialist and trust that you have in your specialist for however long you have a therapeutic relationship with them.
1. Recommendation from your GP
Firstly, you have to see your GP, so she or he can make a diagnosis and be able to refer you to a specialist for this condition. When you talk to them, ask them about their recommendation of 2-3 specialists. Because you trust your GP, you will automatically trust these specialists slightly more than those your GP does not mention.
Do not be satisfied with only one recommendation, as you might find later on, that this specialist is not be the right choice for you. They may not see patients with your condition or they may not be the best fit for you. Do not rush this process and choose a specialist because they can see you in the shortest time possible. Most specialists can and will see patients urgently for conditions like cancer if your GP or yourself call their office and talk to their PA or nurse.
2. Subspecialty training in the condition that you have
After you have received a list of specialists, go and search for more information about them. Many specialist have websites and even if they don't you can still find something out about them through googling them e.g. information from a hospital (where they may work) website. Many of these sites will indicate what training your specialist has had and if they have had any sub or super specialist training. If they have, they would have performed many of the procedure you might require, multiple studies show that people who have subspecialty training and have performed more than a certain number of procedures have fewer complications than those who have not.
If they have their own website you should also look to see whether they report which procedures they undertake. For example, sometimes I am referred patients for consideration of breast reduction. I do not do this procedure so your time would be wasted if those referred came to see me for this procedure.
For some common conditions, there is no need for subspecialty training because all of the specialists in that field will be equally trained and subspecialty training will not matter. For general surgery examples of these conditions are hernias and gallstones.
3. Is this specialist a right fit for you
Investigate further all of the specialists on your list that have had subspecialty training that you require. Look at their website and throughout the internet for further information that may be important for you:`
More information you find about your specialist, the more you will perceive that you know them. And this will lead you to the conclusion that you may trust one specialist more than others. And trust is the most crucial thing in any doctor-patient relationship.
Recommendation from your GP, subspecialty training for your condition and the right fit for you are in my opinion 3 most important tips in choosing your specialist. Also always remember that you should never be pressured by a specialist into having surgery, especially if it is going to cost you a lot of money. And you can always ask for the second opinion.
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I am Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon.
Wakefield Specialist Medical Centre
99 Rintoul St, Newtown
Waikanae Specialist Centre
Boulcott Specialist Centre
666 High Street, Boulcott