Consumers and carers

It's OK to ask questions

Australians are being encouraged to ask questions of their doctors and other healthcare providers about any tests, treatments and procedures being recommended to them.


Patient is seen leaving the reception desk, and taking a seat in a clean, modern, and inviting waiting room - and tracked until they reach take their seat where the narrator is seated in the chair next to them. NARRATOR: The last time you saw your doctor, it’s more than likely you had one or more tests done. Before your next visit, I’d like you to consider a few things. Think back to that last test you had - do you understand why you had it? Did you have a conversation about whether it was necessary or whether there was another alternative? Did you have a conversation about risks and costs? Choosing Wisely Australia is encouraging you to think about these things, and ask questions about any tests, treatments, or procedures being considered the next time you visit your health professional. GP: Harry, just this way. NARRATOR: Let’s follow Harry as he meets with his doctor to do just that.


Patient is invited to take a seat, during which time they are greeted by their doctor. The Narrator sits or stands within view in a way that’s unobtrusive but has a certain whimsy about it.

GP: Now I know when we last met we were talking about having another test done to help inform what we should or shouldn’t do next.

PATIENT: That’s right - I actually have a few questions before we make any decisions.

GP: Fantastic!

PATIENT: Is this specific test the best option for me? Do I really need it?

GP: These are great questions!

(GP and Patient continue to discuss, with volume lowered to a background murmur.)

NARRATOR: We should be discussing the reason for this test. See many tests are useful, but some might not be of any benefit to us right now.

PATIENT: And what are the risks?

GP: I’m very glad you asked.

(GP and Patient continue to discuss, with volume lowered to a background murmur.)

NARRATOR: So am I. We should be talking about risks, such as side effects, the chance of an inaccurate result, the possibility of more tests.

PATIENT: Are there any more simple, safer options?

GP: Of course. There might well be other safer and effective options depending on your own preferences. I think in this case it would be good if we discussed some of those in more detail.

PATIENT: And what if we decide not to do anything?

GP: That’s a very good question.

(GP and Patient continue to discuss, with volume lowered to a background murmur.)

NARRATOR: It is. See depending on your condition, not doing anything could have good or bad implications upon your health and well-being. Sometimes it is best to act right away, and other times it is ok to leave it. Each case is very different. That’s why it is important to listen and ask questions of your doctor when you are spending time with them.

PATIENT: What are the costs?

GP: It’s important to consider that costs could be financial, and often also emotional, or relate to your time - so it’s important we talk about this in more detail.

(All three are standing in the reception of the practice, Patient and GP on either side of the Narrator.)

PATIENT: A good conversation is a two-way conversation.

GP: And together we can work out the next steps for you.

NARRATOR: I couldn’t have said it better myself! Keep those questions in mind next time you see your doctor and for more information about questions to ask visit

5 Questions

5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care.

Find out more