National Association for Patient Participation

Patients urged to think 3 before GP in Scotland

08 February 2018

Patients in Scotland are being asked to adopt a three-step approach when thinking of booking an appointment with their GP to help alleviate pressures on general practice.

Over recent months, the entire health service has been under strain. Family doctors are usually the first point of contact for patients and GP practices have been under immense pressure.

Before they book an appointment with their GP, we are urging members of the public to consider three alternatives:

1. Self-care

For minor ailments, patients might safely treat symptoms at home, for example through rest or with appropriate over the counter medicines.

2. Use trusted NHS online services

Online NHS services offer sensible advice on a range of health issues and are a useful place to turn for initial guidance. Visit

3. Seek advice from a pharmacist

Pharmacists are highly skilled healthcare professionals who can offer valuable advice then and there.

The campaign is supported by our patient group, P3. The Chair of the patient group, Colin Angus (pictured), said:

Colin Angus, Chair, Patient Participation Group“Our family doctors have been exceptionally busy over the winter period dealing with a huge increase in demand on their services. As patients, we need to do everything we can to help our GPs by considering whether we can take alternative measures to manage our own health before booking an appointment at our local surgeries.

“Many patients across the country are experiencing lengthy waits for appointments at their local practices and it is important that we do all we can to help ease this pressure and ensure that those most in need of services are able to access care when they require it. The ‘3 before GP’ campaign serves as an excellent reminder of the services that are available for minor healthcare needs, when we don’t necessarily need to see our GP.”

Please help us to promote the campaign by downloading our poster by clicking here and sharing it on social media using #3beforeGP! 

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