With so many health professionals to choose from, it’s worth thinking about which is best for you. Knowing which questions to ask, and how to search for the right professional, can help you make the right decision.
Things to keep in mind when choosing a health professional
There are several things to keep in mind when you are looking for a health professional.
Some practices might be easier to travel to than others. For example, you might find it easier to visit a health professional closer to your work rather than near your home.
Another thing to consider is whether you feel more comfortable seeing a female health professional, or a male one. Perhaps it doesn't matter if they are a man or woman.
Some health practices specialise in just one thing, such as psychology or physiotherapy, but other practices group together specialists that work in different areas of health and medicine. It might be more convenient for you if different health professionals work in the same place.
A My Health Record allows you to share your health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers if you want to so they can treat you effectively.
Ask about opening hours, including after-hours care, home visits and longer appointments.
If you speak a language other than English, you might find it easier to see a health professional who speaks your language. Some healthcare professionals might also understand your cultural needs better than others.
Some treatments, or ways of working, might suit you better, so it helps to do as much research as you can. For example, if you need psychological treatment, you might prefer to work one-on-one with a health professional, or you might prefer to be part of a group.
After your first visit, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I feel comfortable with them?
- Did I feel comfortable asking questions?
- Did they listen to me?
Here are more questions to ask your doctor, including questions about health problems, treatments, medicines and tests.
How to find a health professional
Many people find health professionals on the basis of a recommendation by a family member, friend, colleague, or another health professional (like a GP or a specialist).
To find out more about selecting a GP you could visit the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners website.
A great way to find a GP or other health professional in your area is to use the healthdirect service finder to search for one. To find a clinical psychologist search the website of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association.
You can also call the Primary Health Network (PHN) in your area to find a GP or another health professional. They might be able to provide information about local health professionals, such as their special interests and languages spoken. To find your nearest PHN, you can use the interactive map locator on the Department of Health website.
It is important to ensure that any health professional you see is qualified. You can check the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, or AHPRA. You can also check if they have been disciplined, and why.
Choosing the most appropriate health service
Watch these videos to learn which services are best for your health needs.
A tool to help you create a question list for your doctor’s appointment. Go to the Question Builder, prepare your list, then print or email it so you remember what you want to ask.
Last reviewed: October 2018