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Build some flexibility with personal doctors

It is not unusual that many of us like to identify with selected doctors. That’s where the term personal doctor is derived from. Over a lifetime, some patients will have seen the same doctor over and over again. Some sort of relationship builds over time, and the trust that develops can be quite hard to break. You will find some patients who get rather upset if their usual doctor is unavailable for whatever reason.

There are several advantages of identifying with a particular doctor, be it a general practitioner or a specialist in a certain field. Both of you get familiar with each other, creating a rapport that works either way.

You get comfortable describing new symptoms as they appear, without necessarily repeating everything from scratch at every appointment. Over the years, your doctor also gets to focus easily on newer symptoms, whilst relating this to an already familiar medical history.

But doctors are humans too, they are bound to be away at certain times. They may take time off for a holiday break, or for a medical conference. They may get unwell too, requiring time off to recuperate. The reasons for your doctor being out of office are as varied as in any other profession. So what happens when you fall ill and make your way to your usual doctor’s office, only to find him or her unavailable?

Such scenarios are fairly common. You can bet that your doctor usually has a plan in place to cover for unforeseen absences. In such circumstances, you normally have a few choices. You could get seen by whoever your doctor has nominated as a suitable cover. Or you could choose to wait till your doctor resumes work. But some ailments cannot wait for long, especially if your doctor is away for a prolonged period of time. Getting yourself worked up doesn’t help, some absences cannot be avoided. Best to be seen by whoever is available, and get reviewed soonest your doctor returns.

There is also another way. You can elect to get yourself registered with a practice that has several doctors, all working to similar ideals. In such a case, you get to be familiar with not just one, but several doctors. You could claim to have several personal doctors, rather than one! Being a patient in a group practice means you are always covered, regardless of the odd absences of some of the doctors. Look around, you will find many group practices operating either independently or within hospital settings.

Your best bet is to allow some flexibility when it comes to personal doctors. Whoever you select may be the best in the field, but there are no guarantees that you will always find them when need arises. Being open to seeing other doctors is a good stance, they may be as good, or even better.

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It is not unusual that many of us like to identify with selected doctors. That’s where the term personal doctor is derived from. Over a lifetime, some

patients will have seen the same doctor over and over again. Some sort of relationship builds over time, and the trust that develops can be quite hard to break.

You will find some patients who get rather upset if their usual doctor is unavailable for whatever reason.

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