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Before your appointment
- Write down your two or three most important questions, so that you remember to ask them.
- List or bring all your medicines and pills – including vitamins, supplements and non-prescription medications.
- Write down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse.
- Ask your hospital or surgery for an interpreter or communication support if needed.
During your appointment
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. For example, ‘Can you say that again? I still don’t understand.’
- If you don’t understand any words, ask for them to be written down and explained.
- Write things down or ask a family member or friend to take notes.
Before you leave your appointment
- Check that you’ve had your questions answered and that you understand the answers, for example ‘Can I just check I understood what you said?’
- Check that you know what should happen next – and when. Write it down.
- Ask who to contact if you have any more problems or questions.
- Ask about support groups and where to go for reliable information.
- Ask for copies of letters written about you – you are entitled to see these.
After your appointment
- Write down what you discussed and what happens next.
- Keep your notes.
- Book any tests that you can and put the dates in your diary.
- Ask ‘What’s happening if I’m not sent my appointment details,’ and ‘Can I have the results of any tests?’
- If you don’t get the results when you expect – ask for them.
- Ask what the results mean.