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Resource type: Article

When should I go to my GP?

How soon should I go to my GP after I get home?

Some patients tell us that they prefer to check in with their GP relatively soon after getting home. Others sometimes feel that they have been "poked and prodded enough" and prefer to have a little "breathing space" after they first get home.You will need no reminding that you've been seriously ill, but please don't ignore any serious symptoms.

You will usually have received only a limited supply of any new medications and will need a repeat prescription from your GP.If you're not mobile or well enough to make it along to your GP's practice, ask a family member or friend to drop off your prescription and collect your new supply of medications.

What if I'm staying with relatives and can't see my own GP?

Patients often stay with family and friends in the first few weeks after they get out of hospital, especially if they still need help or if their own home has too many stairs.It might be possible to have a telephone consultation with your GP.You might also think about registering temporarily with your family member or friend's GP practice.You may have to explain to the receptionist that you've recently come out of Intensive Care and are staying nearby for a short while.

What if I can't make it to my GP's practice?

Many patients feel unable to go to their GP because they feel too unwell or are not yet mobile enough to travel.It might be possible to have a telephone consultation, or you could request a home visit.

How much will my GP know about my Intensive Care and hospital stay?

Your GP will usually receive a copy of your hospital discharge letter, giving him or her a brief summary about how and why you ended up in Intensive Care, your progress during the rest of your hospital stay, any ongoing issues and any changes to your medications.

You should also have received a copy of this letter before you left hospital.There may be a delay of several weeks before this arrives on your GP's desk, so take your own copy with you.

He or she may also have received a separate letter from the doctors who looked after you in Intensive Care, but you will not normally receive a copy of this.

How much can I ask my GP about my illness?

The hospital discharge letter can tend to be quite medical or technical,so you might find it useful to write down a list of questions to ask, if there is anything you don't understand or would like to know more about.

Patients sometimes tell us that they are a little disappointed by how little their GP knows about their illness. This may be because the hospital discharge and Intensive Care letters are generally very brief.

How much will my GP know about common symptoms after Intensive Care?

You will know from using this website that there are a number of physical and psychological issues that are common after Intensive Care. Other patients have told us that they are sometimes a little disappointed with their GP's understanding of these issues. Critical illness is comparatively rare, however,and many GPs will see approximately one Intensive Care patient a year.We have put together a list of the common physical and psychological problems after Intensive Care.It might be useful to print this off and take it with you to your appointment.