Planning an introductory appointment with a GP

In brief

In brief

  • Most GPs will be happy to schedule an introductory appointment with you.
  • You can discuss your personal needs.
  • You can discuss anything confidentially.
  • It is good to prepare for the introductory appointment. Think about what you would like to know.
  • After the introductory appointment you can decide if you want to register with the GP.

Discuss your needs confidentially before registering

Most GPs will be happy to schedule an introductory appointment with you, during which you can discuss your personal needs before deciding whether to register.

During the introductory appointment with the GP, you can discuss anything confidentially.

Preparing yourself

Preparing for the introductory appointment

It is good to prepare for the introductory appointment. Think about what you would like to know.

See the list below to find out which topics are important for you.

Read the GP practice's website or brochure

Almost all GP practices have a website. It is useful to look at the website before your introductory appointment. If you do not have an internet connection, you can usually ask the GP assistant for a practice brochure beforehand. The website or the brochure often provides information about the following topics:

  • How is the practice organised?
  • How can you make an appointment?
  • What are the consultation hours?
  • What is the standard time for a consultation?
  • Is it possible to schedule a longer consultation?
  • Is it possible to speak to the GP or another professional in the practice by telephone. If so, how?
  • Is it possible to contact the GP or another professional in the practice by email. If so, how?
  • How are repeat prescriptions arranged?
  • What types of staff members work in practice and what do they do?
  • How is healthcare arranged outside office hours?

Think about topics for the appointment itself

You can include the topics below in your conversation with the GP. You can write down the topics you would like to talk about beforehand. These are just examples. Make sure to discuss the things that are important to you, even if they are not listed below. If anything on your GP's website is unclear, feel free to discuss it. You can also tell your GP if you feel important topics are missing.

Practice organisation: You can ask questions about how the practice is organised. For example: questions that are not answered on the website or in the brochure.

Extra services: If applicable, ask what is available in addition to standard GP care. You can help the GP by sharing what is important to you. For example: religion, alternative therapies, and accessibility.

Expectations: Questions you can ask to manage both your expectations and those of your GP:

  • What do you expect from your new GP?
  • Do you have any diseases or ailments the GP needs to know about?
  • What are important qualities in a GP for you?
  • Would you like to know the GP’s views on sensitive medical topics such as euthanasia or abortion?
  • What do you think about medication and over-the-counter remedies you can buy at the chemist’s (drugstore)?
  • What do you think about being involved in the approach to your disease or ailment?
  • How does your GP think and what will your GP say if things aren’t going well or might go wrong? After all, it is important to feel comfortable talking to your GP.
  • What happens if the assistant doesn’t understand you or if you don’t agree?
  • Would you like to ask questions or talk about what doctors should do if your heart stops (do you want to be resuscitated or not)?
  • Would you like to tell or ask the GP anything about hereditary (genetic) conditions?
  • Would you like to know what your potential new GP thinks about alternative therapies?


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Reasons to switch

Reasons to switch to a different GP

You will often need to find a new GP after moving house. But there can also be other reasons. Think about whether you want to talk about why you want to switch to a new GP or new practice? It could be important for the new GP to know this, but perhaps you do not feel the time is right to discuss this yet. Think about this carefully.

After the appointment

After the introductory appointment

Think about whether you have discussed everything you wanted to? If necessary, you and the GP can decide whether you want to schedule a follow-up appointment.

If you decide after the introductory appointment that you want to register with the GP: read more on how to register.

More information

More information

Read more in the leaflet ‘Choosing a different GP’ (Een andere huisarts kiezen) (in Dutch).
This leaflet is by the Netherlands Patient Federation (Patiëntenfederatie Nederland) and the Dutch General Practitioners Association (Landelijke Huisartsen Vereniging).

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