Finding a good family doctor is very important for those who have young and growing children. Young children tend to be susceptible to virus and are often fighting off colds, coughs, rashes, etc, while toddlers and preschoolers are prone to common childhood illnesses, like mumps, chicken pox, etc, and at the same time, this age group is prone to knocks and bumps.
Parents must have the assurance that when illness or injury strikes, they are able to access good quality medical care and put their family’s health concerns in the hands of a doctor that they trust and that they feel totally comfortable with.
Choosing the right doctor:
â˜… Location: Look for a doctor who is situated close to the family home. Illnesses and injuries happen at any time and without notice and rather than negotiating traffic jams, find a doctor that is situated as close to home as possible.
â˜… Medical aid rates: Be sure to find out if the doctor is contracted into medical aid. We all want the best medical care for our children, but we also don’t want to be faced with thousands of Rands in unpaid medical bills. Check with your medical aid (if covered), as to the number of doctor visits that are permitted, each year.
â˜… Size of the practice: This is important. If your child takes ill and the doctor happens to be away, who is able to fill in? Is there more than one doctor in the practice? Has the doctor appointed a locum? Have you met the locum? All these questions need to be addressed when choosing a family doctor.
â˜… Appointments: In the event of an emergency, will the doctor be able to help with an appointment. Find out more about the general waiting period to secure an appointment and if the doctor is open for appointments on a Saturday morning? Many working parents use Saturdays for routine dental or medical checkups.
â˜… Bedside manner: Doctors need to be more than just medically qualified; they must be able to put their patients at ease (especially children). When a toddler is feeling unwell, they look for sympathy and a good doctor will help to settle the child and take his or her time to properly assess the patient. Look for a doctor who is good with kids, who has a friendly and caring bedside manner and will not rush through the consultation, but rather take time their time to explain the child’s condition to the obviously concerned parents.
â˜… Cleanliness of facilities: Look around the waiting room! Is it clean – this is important? A doctor’s waiting room can become a breeding ground for germs yet if cleaned regularly and correctly, germs can be kept at bay. The doctor’s consulting room should also be hygienically clean, and medical instruments must be sterilized after use.
It is important that the family feels comfortable and at ease during the consultation, so be sure to choose a doctor that is friendly and caring and who has a real concern for your child’s health and well-being.