Preparing for an appointment with your GP

To get the most out of your doctor’s appointment, it pays to spend a little time preparing for it. A normal appointment with a GP lasts an average of 15 minutes.

A woman sitting on a sofa and writing

Some assessments and tests can take time. If you have agreed to have some tests or investigations carried out on you ahead of your appointment, it is important that you turn up at the GP’s surgery in plenty of time.

You may need to follow some instructions in order to prepare for your appointment. You may for example need to:

  • Not eat or drink anything
  • Not take medication
  • Provide a urine sample in the morning

If you are in any doubt, contact your GP’s surgery for advice.

In addition to GP’s appointments with physical attendance, many GPs offer appointments via text or video. Not all issues can be resolved digitally. If you are unsure whether your GP offers digital appointments or whether your problem is appropriate for this form of communication, you should contact your GP’s surgery for advice.

Decide in advance what you want to discuss

Many patients have a number of health issues which they want to discuss with their GP. Consultations are normally based on the assumption that only one medical problem will be brought up. GP’s surgeries have different practices regarding this, so you should check with your GP’s surgery in advance.

Make a note of what you want to discuss with your GP on a sticky note, ideally with what you consider to be the most important issues first. This will make it easier for your GP to decide whether your problems are interlinked or whether you will need additional appointments.

Even minor issues can have a major impact on a person’s life. It is better to arrange an extra appointment with your GP than to spend a long time worrying about whether or not something is serious.

Be open with your GP

​You can be open and honest with your GP without any worry that the information you tell them might be passed on to others. Your GP and everyone who works at your GP’s surgery are subject to an absolute duty of confidentiality. To enable your GP to help you as much as possible, it is important that you explain your problem clearly and fully to them.

Tell your doctor about the medications you are taking and any hospital admissions or visits to emergency medical centres

​Tell your doctor about any changes to your medication implemented by others. Your GP will not automatically be notified about any contact you have had with emergency medical centres, hospital admissions, examinations by specialists or treatment by a clinical psychologist.

Tell your GP about any medicines you have taken that are not stated on your prescription, such as Paracet or Ibux. You should also tell your GP if you are taking any herbal medicines.

You have the right to choose a treatment centre

If you are referred by your GP for further assessment or treatment, you have the right to choose where this will take place. At Choose your treatment centre, you and your GP can check waiting times and together decide where it would be best for you to be treated.

Your GP can send the referral directly to your preferred treatment centre, or give you the referral so that you can send it yourself.

You cannot choose a treatment centre if you require urgent medical assistance.

Using interpreters during GP’s appointments

​You have the right to receive information about your health and treatment in a language which you understand. Please inform the GP’s surgery in plenty of time if you need an interpreter. A telephone interpreting service can be used in the case of appointments where urgent medical assistance is required.

Refunding of travel expenses for GP’s appointments

You may be entitled to have your travel expenses to your GP’s surgery in your home municipality refunded. The general rule is that you must travel by the cheapest mode of travel on scheduled transport to and from your nearest treatment centre.

Please contact your patient travel office on 05515 for more information about adapted transport.

Paying at your GP’s surgery

​Many GP’s surgeries have payment machines and prefer you to pay by card.

However, doctors cannot charge a fee for card payments or for the booking of appointments by text message by patients. If you wish to receive an invoice, you must expect to have to pay an additional fee.

Delays at GP’s surgeries

Delays can sometimes develop at GPs’ surgeries. Patients may come in who require urgent medical attention, resulting in other patients having to wait. Nevertheless, it is important that you turn up for your appointment at the right time.

If you are delayed, it is important that you notify the GP’s surgery as soon as possible. You should be aware that it will sometimes be necessary to arrange another appointment. To minimise waiting times, you should cancel any appointment you do not intend to attend as soon as possible.

Appointments must be cancelled at least 24 hours before the consultation is due to take place; otherwise you will have to pay for the appointment.

You can ask for a second opinion from another doctor

​You do not need to agree with your GP’s assessment and you can discuss with them why you disagree. However, the doctor cannot be forced to alter their opinion from the one he or she believes to be correct.

You have the right to change your GP or to have another assessment if necessary. The GP scheme is intended to help you and your doctor develop a good professional relationship over time.

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Preparing for an appointment with your GP. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Friday, February 7, 2020 [retrieved Monday, May 27, 2024]. Available from:

Last updated Friday, February 7, 2020