15 Tips to Help You Think ‘3 BEFORE GP’

15 Tips to Help You Think ‘3 BEFORE GP’

Pressure on local GP surgeries continues to mount and as a result patients are being asked to consider carefully what they can do for themselves before they make an appointment. By reducing the number of appointments to only those who really need to see a doctor, waiting times are reduced and these patients can be seen quicker.  

What is ‘3 BEFORE GP’?

To help guide the public and assist them to make the right decision about their health, a handy guide has been produced called ‘3 before GP’ by the Royal College of GPs. The aim of this guidance is to encourage patients to look at 3 areas before they pick up the phone:

  • Self care
  • Trusted sources
  • Pharmacy

In this post we will break these areas down further and provide practical tips on what exactly you can do when you feel unwell.

Self Care

  1. Get plenty of rest, take the time you need off work/school and give your body the chance to heal
  2. Feed yourself with nutritional food. Plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein will give your body strength to recover
  3. Make sure you hydrate yourself, drink regularly and aim for 6 – 8 glasses a day
  4. Consider what over the counter painkillers would help you through your illness. Many of these can be bought in supermarkets or corner shops so are easy to get hold of but effective to ease pain
  5. If you have muscular pain then consider using heat or a cold compress to soothe

Trusted sources

  1. Visit the official NHS website or NHS Direct
  2. For more local advice take a look around this website (PYB Health) if you live in the Bridgend area
  3. Look at the images, watch the videos and read the content on the website so you can be informed with reliable information.
  4. Follow the advice provided on trusted sources only, other advice available on the Internet could be potentially dangerous
  5. If you cannot find the advice you need and you want medical advice soon (but it isn’t a life threatening emergency) then consider calling 111. You will be able to talk to a trained professional who will advise you on the next steps to take


  1. The pharmacist is a qualified professional. They can provide comprehensive medical advice and recommend over the counter medication
  2. Check with your pharmacy to find out if they provide basic health checks such as blood pressure. The pharmacy can also provide support with patients wanted to make healthier lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and sexual health
  3. Many pharmacies are now offering the Common Ailments Service, which allows pharmacists to offer some medicines for free on the NHS. By visiting your pharmacy instead of your GP, you could save yourself time and not have to go to the effort of getting an appointment. Find out more here. You can also search for local pharmacies here by typing ‘Bridgend’ in the search bar
  4. Most pharmacists have private rooms for 1:1 consultations so you can discuss your health in confidence
  5. Explain your symptoms to the pharmacist and take the advice provided. This might be to make an appointment with the GP in which case you know you will be using the service appropriately

Following these steps before you make an appointment is good for everyone; those that don’t need to see a doctor will get better with the appropriate support and medication and those who do, will be able to make an appointment sooner as less pressure will be on their local GP surgery. It is also good for our hard working NHS staff and enables them to serve patients more effectively.

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