Find­ing Dr Right

Find­ing the right pae­di­a­tri­cian for you can take some time and ef­fort, says Camilla Rankin, who spoke to Dr Jess Med­dows-tay­lor

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -

FIND­ING A DOC­TOR that you like and trust is vi­tal – af­ter all, you are likely to go through thick and thin with this per­son. Gen­eral prac­ti­tioner and mom to three young girls, Dr Jess Med­dows-tay­lor, shares her views on find­ing Dr Right.


Most ba­bies will be seen within a few days of birth by the pae­di­a­tri­cian who is on duty at the hospi­tal or birthing clinic where they were born, and for the most part par­ents tend to stick with this doc­tor for good. But like any re­la­tion­ship forged in the heat of the mo­ment, this is not enough of a rea­son to be loyal and stick it out if you are un­happy. As Dr Jess says, “Un­less the baby is born with any spe­cific med­i­cal prob­lems where it is im­por­tant to have a doc­tor that has been in­volved from the start, then make a clean break and go to the paed or GP that you had re­searched be­fore your baby was born.”


1If you have a fam­ily doc­tor or GP al­ready, then ask them to re­fer you to a paed with whom they work closely. It is much more time- and cost-ef­fi­cient to visit your GP first, who if nec­es­sary will re­fer you to a pae­di­a­tri­cian. It is also usu­ally eas­ier to get an ap­point­ment with a GP, and often if you do need a paed ap­point­ment, you are likely to be taken more se­ri­ously if you tell them you have been re­ferred by your GP.

2Look for a paed that is based at a hospi­tal near you – you don’t want to be driv­ing forty min­utes with a sick and wail­ing child, or turned away be­cause your paed is not based there.

3Speak to friends and fam­ily about the paeds they use and love, and why. Be sure to ask about wait­ing times and his or her avail­abil­ity af­ter hours or in an emer­gency.

4Look for a paed whose part­ner at the prac­tice you also like. This way there is al­ways a doc if you need one.

5Find out if the doc­tor has a spe­cific spe­cialty, if so, ask if they can re­fer UN­LESS THE BABY IS BORN WITH ANY SPE­CIFIC MED­I­CAL PROB­LEMS WHERE IT IS IM­POR­TANT TO HAVE A DOC­TOR THAT HAS BEEN IN­VOLVED FROM THE START, THEN MAKE A CLEAN BREAK AND GO TO THE PAED OR GP THAT YOU HAD RE­SEARCHED BE­FORE YOUR BABY WAS BORN you to a gen­eral paed. Many spe­cial­ist paeds pri­ori­tise the patients that fall into their spe­cial­ity, un­der­stand­ably, leav­ing more gen­eral cases to wait.

6Most im­por­tantly, in­ter­view a num­ber of paeds be­fore your baby ar­rives. Dr Jess points out: “Your doc­tor needs to be ap­proach­able, avail­able, you need to agree with their prac­tice and phi­los­o­phy and you need to con­nect with them and their par­tic­u­lar bed­side man­ner.” Th­ese is­sues can only be as­sessed in per­son. For the most part, go with your gut.


It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that once you have cho­sen a paed, you are not bound to that per­son for­ever. You are en­ti­tled to get a sec­ond (third, or even fourth) opin­ion. “Medicine is a sub­jec­tive sci­ence,” ex­plains Dr Jess, “and there is never only one way of man­ag­ing a med­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. You can look for al­ter­na­tives and try dif­fer­ent doc­tors.” If the re­la­tion­ship is not work­ing, you can leave. If you do leave, you are en­ti­tled to the per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion in your file, al­though not the file it­self, be­cause it be­longs to the doc­tor. YB

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