English Vocabulary for visiting the DOCTOR
Description: When you are not feeling well, you should visit the doctor to get help. But how do you explain your problem in English? In this lesson, I will give you lots of vocabulary to help you describe what is wrong. There will also be some useful practical information about prescriptions and medicines. After watching, make sure to do the quiz at to test your understanding!


Hi. I'm Gill from, and oh dear, I've been working all day, I've got a terrible headache. I think I need to see the doctor. But later. I have to put you first, all of you watching. You're my priority. So, let's have a look today. The subject of the lesson is visiting the doctor when you have a headache or a pain somewhere else, if you're feeling sick, all of those things.

So, visiting the doctor. Going to the GP's surgery. Now, in the UK a doctor who has a... Where you go to them in a building, it's called their surgery. It doesn't mean they cut you open and do surgery. It's not that kind of surgery. That's done in a hospital in an operating theatre, but this is like... Often it's just an ordinary house type of building, you go in, you see the doctor. It's called the doctor's surgery. And GP is sometimes used. It stands for "General Practitioner". It just means that doctor deals with all kinds of different problems. People come in off the street when they have something wrong with them.

So, visiting the doctor. First of all, you have to make an appointment. It's not called a meeting. It's an appointment. You can either phone, go in. Some doctors you can book online through their website, making an appointment. Then you go in to see the doctor or possibly a nurse, some surgeries have nurses as well as doctors. You go in to see the doctor or to see the nurse. Okay? You have to describe your symptoms, like, what is wrong. My headache. Or: "Oh, feeling sick", that's a symptom, what you're feeling that is wrong, why you are there. Describe the symptoms. And we will look at some specific symptoms in the second half of the lesson. Right.

You may, depending on what the problem is, the doctor or the nurse may want to give you a physical examination. They want to sort of feel things and have a look, and... So sometimes you may want someone, if you're a lady, you may want a female doctor. If you're a man, you may want to see a male doctor. In the UK it's very easy to ask for whichever you prefer. If it's a bit embarrassing, you may want to see a doctor who is the same gender as you. So that's okay. Right.

When you see the doctor and the doctor decides what kind of medication you need or medicine, medication, the doctor gives you a piece of paper which is called a prescription which is for medicine, either pills... Another word for "pills" is "tablets", little things you take out of a bottle and swallow. It might be cream. If you've burnt your skin, you might have some cream to put on to heal it. Or liquid if you need something, like to drink some kind of tonic. There may be a liquid in a bottle that you have to drink. Okay.

You've got your prescription, piece of paper, you have to go and get the medicine because the doctor at the surgery does not usually give you the medication. You have to go, you have to take your prescription to a pharmacy. The other name for "pharmacy" is "chemist" or "chemist shop" where they have a place where they keep lots of pills, all sorts of drugs and things, legal drugs I hasten to add. When you say "drugs", people sometimes think: "Oh, illegal." But no, these are drugs. Medicine is drugs. Okay? So you go to get your prescription, you get your medication.

The instructions on the bottle or on the container tells you the dosage, how much to take. Maybe two pills per day, four pills per day, one pill after each meal, that kind of thing. That's the dosage or the dose. And how often, the frequency; once a day, twice a day, so on.

Hopefully with one set of medication you will be better within a few days, but if there is still a problem after a few days and you've taken all your pills or whatever, you may have to make a return visit to the doctor. So another appointment. You may need a repeat prescription, which is more... More drugs because the first drugs haven't worked. A repeat prescription for the same thing. If the doctor decides to try different drugs, then it will be a different prescription, not a repeat prescription. Okay, so that's just the general introduction to the whole process, and we will now move on and have a look at the symptoms and how to describe what is wrong. Okay.

Okay, so here we have the various symptoms that you may have to describe to the doctor or to the nurse. First of all, the word "ache" is pronounced like a "k". It looks like "h", but it's pronounced: "ake" with a "k" sound. You can have a backache. Oh, back is aching. Stomach ache.
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