Pediatrician or Family Doctor?

Kimberly - posted on 05/16/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I've just moved to the US from the UK and I was wondering what's best for my 20 month old daughter, a pediatrician or a family doctor my husband and I can go to as well. In the UK we had a GP and then a child's health visitor that I could take my daughter to if I had any concerns not big enough for the doctor to handle, the health visitor also did her weighings and measurements. My husband came home from his new job the other day after getting all his medical insurance information and said, do you want her to have a pediatrician or family doctor? and I said, I have no idea! lol

Also, my husband and I are considering trying for our second baby soon. I'd like to (after finding a doctor, of course) go for a pap smear before we start trying as I haven't had one in about 5 years, so I'm due! My question is, I have NO ONE here to watch my daughter while I go to doctor's appointments. Do doctor's usually allow you to bring your children to appointments with you?

Any helpful insight and opinions would be appreciated! :)

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Lisa - posted on 05/16/2011

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We have a family doctor (GP). He's delivered (or been present at their births when I had C-Sections) of all three of my children.
My kids go to my doctors appointments with me. Usually I try to schedule my yearly appointment with theirs because then I only have to make one trip!

Katherine - posted on 05/16/2011

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I live in Michigan and the BEST thing is to get a pediatrician. You want someone familiar with kids, they also let you take your kids to appointments ANYWHERE in the US. Unless it's something you just can't do like say a mammogram or something and even then.... So for you, for a PAP, you need an OBGYN. I know it's all crazy to you, I never knew it was so different.

Kellie - posted on 05/16/2011

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I can't say what it's like for anyone else or in other parts of the world (i'm in australia) but I take my daughter to the doctor for everything i'm not even sure if we have the GP or Pediatrician option here, I think it just GP unless serious issue then the GP would send you to the Pediatrician.

I take my daughter with me when I go to the Doc for me, i've never even considered if the GP's allow it or not, where I go she goes it's really that simple :)

Bonnie - posted on 05/16/2011

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A lot of parents prefer pediatricians as they only deal with children, but we take ours to the family doctor. It's been fine. And to answer your other question, I don't always take my boys with to my doctor's appointments, but if I really have to I will. Maybe bring with a few little toys so she can be entertained in the room while you are having your checkup done.

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We use a pediatrician, not sure about the rest of the country, but in my area, a lot of "family doctors" won't see really young kids any more, so the choice was not really ours.

This is what I did when I interviewed. I chose a day that I wanted to go visit different offices, then I called several to make an appointment for a tour and interview for that day. If they could not give me an appointment on the day I chose, they were automatically ruled out--I did not want a doctor who was too over scheduled to conform to my needs.

When I got there, I met with the nursing staff and assessed their friendliness, timeliness, and comfort of the waiting area. I waited less than 10 minutes at all of my visits, but I have horror stories of having to wait 20-30 minutes with sick kids in tow--that is just unacceptable to me. While I waited, I asked about the billing process and for a list of services and prices. Some places refused to give me that, they were ruled out because I like to know how much I am paying for things.

The doctor took me on a tour of the offices where I could ask questions. I asked a lot about his beliefs on vaccinations, antibiotics, when to bring in a sick child, etc. just to be sure they matched up with my own beliefs and to make sure we had a good connection, were comfortable around each other, and conversed smoothly--clicked, so to speak.

I also asked for 5 references, a combination of current/past patients, teachers, and colleagues. Ask for this when you set the appointment, due to privacy laws, they must obtain written permission to list (former or current) patients as a reference. Most already have them, but it never hurts to give them a week. I had a short list of questions for them about the doctor's personality, effectiveness in the field, quality of service, etc.


I didn't interview different doctors the first time around, I just went to a practice that was spoken well of in my community, and I HATED them. The wait was ALWAYS close to 30 minutes, the actual appointments never lasted more than 15 minutes and always seemed rushed, they did not listen to my complaints, and they were forceful with their opinions. I am very happy with the pediatrician we have now, and while it was a lot of work to find him, he is well worth the effort.

Kimberly - posted on 05/18/2011

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Thanks for your replies ladies :) I should have been more clear, I'm actually American, but moved to the UK when I was 20, got married, and had my daughter at 25 (lived in the UK for 7 years) so I do know what a pediatrician is, I was more interested in people's personal preferences for your children. What confused me was that in the UK after I had my baby I asked about finding her a pediatrician and they looked at me like I was crazy because you only take your child to a pediatrician in the UK if there's a serious problem with your little one. After she was born a pediatrician had to give her an exam and release her from the hospital, but that was the one and only time she's ever seen one. I think the doctors in the UK are much less personal, at least in my opinion, I never saw the same GP at my local doctor's surgery and so nobody knew me or my child when we went it. The doctor that gave my daughter her 8 week injections said to me afterwards while my baby was screaming, "calm her down and then you can go..." I requested never to see that specific doctor again, but I think that's just the attitude out there (in London at least) Everything medical is free on the NHS so you deal with what you get.

How do I go about interviewing a doctor?? What do I say when I call them up? I've never done this before! More help please :)

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