Coming to the UK: Seeing the doctor
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich goes to see the doctor. The language focus is on the words and phrases that will help you make an appointment at your local doctor's surgery and speak to your doctor in the UK. Your task is to describe a common illness or injury. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess, too. Enjoy!
Welcome - Coming to the UK - Seeing the doctor
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to continue our series of essential things you need to know when you come to the UK to live or study.
Jack: Last week, we spoke about the language you need when travelling on public transport in the UK. We looked at phrases like ‘Where do you catch the number 57? , ‘So, that’s an off-peak day return to Brighton, right?’ and ‘This is a platform alteration.’.
Rich: We also looked at lots of vocabulary we need when talking about public transport such as ‘single’ or ‘return’, ‘travel cards’, and ‘replacement bus services’.
Jack: If you want to go back and do this lesson you can find it on the Premier Skills English website by clicking skills >listen>podcasts. If you are on Spotify or Apple Podcasts you’ll find it in the playlist it’s called ‘Coming to the UK - Getting from A to B’.
Jack: In this podcast, we are going to talk about the language you need when you need to go and see a doctor in the UK.
Rich: That’s right. If you come to work or study in the UK you will probably be sick at one point or another and you might want to go and see a doctor.
Jack: So, we’re going to look at some of the language you need to register and make an appointment with a doctor and then the language you need to explain to the doctor what is wrong with you.
Rich: We’ll have three roleplays for you. The first roleplay will be calling the doctor’s surgery to make an appointment with a doctor.
Jack: And then in the other roleplays, Rich meets the doctor. That will be me - I always wanted to be a doctor!
Rich: After the roleplays, we will also have a task for you to do, which is when we ask you to use your English. This week we’re going to ask you to describe some symptoms of a common illness or injury and give out some doctor’s advice.
Jack: And, don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have another football phrase for you to guess.
Football Phrase 1
Jack: But, before we look at all that, let’s look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week we’ll give you one more chance to guess and give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rich: The phrase was _________. The phrase means to waste time because you are winning and want to hold on to the lead. A team might take the ball to the corner flag, take a long time about free-kicks, and substitutions will take ages as teams try _______________.
Jack: Well done if you got the right answer last week. It was a difficult one and there were some interesting answers. However, a special well done to Liubomyr from Ukraine and Elghoul from Algeria who got the answer spot on and wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: We’ll tell you the answer to this football phrase and we’ll have a new one at the end of the show.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s podcast, we are going to talk about visiting the doctor in the UK. When you go and live in the UK to study or work one of the first things you should do is register with a doctor.
Rich: Yes, you should register with your local doctor’s surgery - that is the place where a doctor works and speaks to patients.
Jack: Once you are registered at a surgery it’s much easier to make an appointment. Don’t wait until you are sick.
Rich: Your employer or university will give you lots more information about these things than we can here though.
Jack: So, we are going to do three roleplays. In the first, Rich is going to telephone the doctor’s surgery for an appointment.
Rich: And in the other roleplays, I’m going to see Doctor Jack because I’m not doing too well.
Jack: After we finish the roleplays, we will look at some of the language we use but the first thing we want you to do is to answer some questions while you listen.
Rich: We’ve got two questions for each roleplay. The questions for the first roleplay are: What’s the most important bit of information I give to the receptionist? And When is my appointment with the doctor?
Jack: Hello, station road surgery.
Rich: Hello, good morning.
Jack: Good morning. How can I help?
Rich: My name’s Rich. I called earlier about making an appointment to see a doctor but the woman on the phone said I needed to register as a patient at the surgery first.
Jack: Yes, she left a message on the desk. I have it here. I’ve spoken to Doctor Jack and he’s happy to take you on as a patient. I’ve just got a few questions for you to answer, I can fill in this registration form for you I and then we can make you an appointment.
Rich: Yes, sure. No problem.
Jack: OK. Rich. That’s short for Richard, right?
Rich: Yes, that’s right.
Jack: And your surname, Rich?
Rich: It’s McManus. M - C - M not M - A - C - M.
Jack: Got it. And your date of birth?
Jack: And your address?
Rich: I live in the halls at the university. It’s Regent Halls, block 5, flat 37a.
Jack: So, that’s a temporary address? You’re a student, right?
Rich: Yes, I’m from Canada but I’m here for two years.
Jack: That’s fine. I’ve just got a couple of medical questions. Do you have any allergies? Are you allergic to any medication?
Rich: Nuts. I’m allergic to peanuts. It’s not a really bad allergy but ...
Jack: I’ll make a note of it here. OK, and are you on any medication at the moment?
Rich: No, nothing.
Jack: That’s about it I think. We’ll have a medical card waiting for you when you come in.
Rich: Could I make an appointment now?
Jack: Sure. When would you like to come in?
Rich: Well, as soon as possible really. Do you think you might be able to fit me in this afternoon?
Jack: I’m afraid the surgery is closed on Wednesday afternoons. What about tomorrow morning at 900?
Rich: Yes, that would be great.
Jack: OK, we’ll see you then.
Rich: Your two questions for this roleplay are: What’s my problem? and What does the doctor tell me to do?
Jack: Please, come in. Slowly ... I can see you’re limping.
Rich: Yeah, a football injury.
Jack: Sit down. Is it your knee or your ankle?
Rich: It’s my ankle. It hurts a lot and I can’t put any weight on it.
Jack: Let’s have a look. Lie down on the bed over here.
Rich: Up here?
Jack: Oh yeah, there’s quite a lot of swelling. Tell me where it hurts. Here?
Jack: It’s probably just a sprain but we need to wait until it goes down to see if there is a fracture or a break ... or you could go to the hospital for an x-ray?
Rich: I can wait a day or two.
Jack: Do you have a temperature?
Jack: OK, I’m going to give you these crutches to get around for the next day or two and I’m going to write a prescription for some painkillers. They should also help the swelling go down.
Rich: Great. Anything else?
Jack: You could try an ice-pack or use a bag of frozen peas on the swelling to help it go down but generally you just need to get your weight off it. Lots of rest and try to keep your legs raised.
Jack: Come back and see me on Monday and we’ll see how it is.
Rich: Your two questions for this roleplay are: What’s my problem? and What does the doctor tell me to do?
Jack: Please, come in. What seems to be the problem?
Rich: I’m feeling really rough. Not good at all.
Jack: Can you describe your symptoms?
Rich: Well, my throat really hurts. I can hardly swallow anything and I have an awful headache.
Jack: Have you got a temperature?
Rich: I think so, but it’s not very high.
Jack: Let’s have a look at your mouth. Open wide.
Jack: Just as I thought. A case of tonsilitis.
Rich: Will I have to have my tonsils taken out?
Jack: No, I shouldn’t think so. I’ll prescribe you some antibiotics and it should clear up in a few days.
Rich: OK. Do I need to do anything else?
Jack: Tonsillitis is contagious so don’t go to classes or work for a couple of days while the medicine takes effect. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of cold drinks that can help soothe your throat a little.
Rich: OK, thanks, doc.
Jack: Before we take a look at the language we used in the roleplay, let’s give you the answers to those questions we asked.
Rich: The questions in the first roleplay were: What’s the most important bit of information I gave to the receptionist? And When was my appointment with the doctor?
Jack: Well, I suppose the most important bit of information you gave was your allergy to nuts. Everything else was just basic information.
Rich: And, in the end, I made an appointment for Thursday morning at nine.
Jack: In roleplay two, Rich’s problem was an injured ankle and I gave him some crutches, some painkillers and told him to rest and come back in a few days.
Rich: And in roleplay three, I had tonsillitis and Doctor Jack gave me some antibiotics, told me to stay at home and drink plenty of cold drinks.
Jack: Now, let’s look at some of the language we used in the roleplays.
Jack: We’ve just used lots of words and phrases you will need when speaking to the doctor and making an appointment at the doctor’s surgery.
Rich: Let’s start by looking at six common verb-noun collocations. Collocations are words that go together. The first is the one that I did in the first roleplay: I made an appointment.
Jack: We don’t take an appointment or call an appointment. The correct collocation is ‘make an appointment’.
Rich: In the UK, when you want to see your doctor, you have to make an appointment. This means that you have to telephone the surgery and arrange a day and a time to see your doctor.
Jack: Let’s look at some other common collocations we used in the roleplay.
Rich: The receptionist asked me to fill in a form. To fill in a form means to complete a form; to write information on the form.
Jack: To fill in a form is a common collocation, you often have to fill in a form when you give your basic information to different organisations like in the roleplay at the doctor’s surgery.
Rich: One of the most important questions when filling in the form was ‘Do you have any allergies?’. Allergies are reactions to things you touch or eat and can make you feel very sick.
Jack: Do you have allergies, Rich?
Rich: I have an allergy to nuts.
Jack: The collocation is ‘have an allergy’ and we have allergies to things.
Rich: The next collocation is to describe symptoms. In roleplay three, the doctor asked me to describe my symptoms.
Jack: Symptoms are the changes in your body that tell you that you are sick. Symptoms of a cold might be a headache, runny nose, a temperature etc.
Rich: And we describe the symptoms to the doctor.
Jack: If a doctor thinks you need some medicine, he will write you a prescription. That’s the next collocation- to write a prescription.
Rich: This is the bit of paper from the doctor that you take to the chemist’s or pharmacy and they give you the medicine that the doctor prescribed.
Jack: The last collocation is ‘have a headache’ or ‘have a stomach ache’ or ‘have a sore throat’. When we describe our symptoms we often use the verb ‘have’.
Rich: Sore throat is a difficult one.
Jack: Yes, it is. Let’s look at some of the vocabulary we can use to describe symptoms. Let’s start with a sore throat.
Rich: OK, your throat is in your neck and is the part of the body that air and food go through.
Jack: To be sore means to be painful and often red in colour. To have a sore throat is probably the most common collocation but you can have sore feet after a lot of walking or running or maybe something can be sore if you’ve cut it or had an operation.
Rich: We mentioned ‘a runny nose’ a minute ago. That’s a funny phrase.
Jack: Runny means having or producing a lot of liquid. We use it in cooking. An omelette might be too runny - it’s not solid enough.
Rich: OK, so you can probably guess what a runny nose is! I don’t think we need to describe it much more!
Jack: You’re right. What else? The word ache is really useful. In general, we can use ache to mean a pain that is there but not too strong.
Rich: If you go for a long run, you might wake up the next day and be aching all over.
Jack: But we also combine ache with parts of the body. You can have a headache, a stomachache, backache, earache or toothache.
Rich: If we are sick, we’ve already mentioned that the doctor may write a prescription for you.
Jack: The doctor will check you are not allergic to any medicine or on medication already.
Rich: On medication is another collocation. It means taking any medicine regularly at the moment. Doctors need to ask this because some medicines don’t go well together.
Jack: The doctor might prescribe painkillers to stop pain or antibiotics that can cure infections.
Rich: The doctor will tell you how many tablets to take. We take medicine - that’s another collocation.
Jack: This is called a dose - the quantity of medicine you need to take.
Rich: Right, we’ve got lots more vocabulary connected to medicine and seeing the doctor on the Premier Skills English website. Find this lesson on the homepage or in the skills section and you will find lots of activities, the transcript and a quiz to test your understanding.
Jack: And that’s where you can write your answers to this week’s task, too!
Jack: This week’s task is to describe some symptoms of a common, easy to cure illness or a sports injury.
Rich: And to give some advice on what to do or what medicine to take to get better.
Rich: That’s right. We want you to first be the patient and then the doctor. Write about your symptoms or injury in the comments section and reply to other people with your advice.
Jack: None of us are doctors remember, so it’s probably best not to actually follow this advice in real life! However, we do want you to use some of the language we have used in this podcast!
Rich: OK, so that’s your task this week. Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website or in the review section on Apple Podcasts.
This week’s football phrase:
Jack: The final section this week is our football phrase.
Rich: The football phrase this week is ******. This is a word that you won’t find in dictionaries yet but is becoming more and more common. It describes the result in a knockout match when a small team beats a big team. The word is two common words put together. The first word is a synonym of trophy and the second word is a synonym of surprise in a football context.
Jack: Let’s see who can get it right! If you know the answer, write it in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We will announce your name in next week’s podcast if you get it right.
Rich: We also need to give you the answer to the football phrase we set at the beginning of the show. The answer as you may already know was to run down the clock.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week. Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Rich: Doctor, doctor! Will I be able to play football after the operation?
Jack: Yes, I don’t see why not.
Rich: Great. I never could before.
Jack: In the UK there is a specific type of joke called a ‘doctor, doctor joke’.
Rich: These jokes are very old. Historians say that doctor, doctor jokes have been around for thousands of years and were even told by the Romans.
Jack: These jokes always start in the same way. The patient starts the conversation by saying ‘Doctor, doctor’ and then explains his or her problem or symptoms.
Rich: The doctor then replies with the punchline. The punchline is the funny part of a joke.
Jack: Here are a few examples. Let us know if you get the joke and if you think they are funny or not.
Rich: Doctor, doctor! It hurts when I touch my nose, it hurts when I touch my knee, it hurts when I touch my head. I don’t know what is wrong with me! I think I’m going to die!
Jack: You’ve broken your finger!
Rich: Doctor, doctor! I’ve swallowed my pocket money.
Jack: Take these tablets and we’ll see if there is any change in the morning.
Rich: Doctor, doctor! People keep ignoring me.
Jack: Next, please!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
I’m afraid the surgery is closed on Wednesday afternoons.
Slowly ... I can see you’re limping
It’s my ankle. It hurts a lot and I can’t put any weight on it.
I’m going to give you these crutches and I’m going to write a prescription for some painkillers.
They should also help the swelling go down.
I’m feeling really rough. Not good at all.
Tonsillitis is contagious so don’t go to classes or work for a couple of days.
There were a few more tricky words and phrases in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words. This can really help your understanding.
Making an appointment with the doctor
In this week's podcast, Rich needed to see the doctor. In the UK, you need to register with a doctor and then make an appointment. Here are some of the phrases that were used in the roleplay. Do you know the words in bold?
I’ve just got a few questions for you to answer. I can fill in this registration form for you and then we can make you an appointment.
That’s fine. I’ve just got a couple of medical questions. Do you have any allergies? Are you allergic to any medication? Are you on any medication at the moment?
When would you like to come in?
Well, as soon as possible really. Do you think you might be able to fit me in this afternoon?
What about tomorrow morning at 900?
Listen to roleplay one again. How would you answer the questions above?
Seeing the doctor - An injury
In the second roleplay, Rich was speaking to the doctor. He had hurt his ankle playing football. Here are some of the phrases from roleplay 2:
There’s quite a lot of swelling. Tell me where it hurts. Here?
Swelling is a noun and describes a part of your body that is bigger than normal because of an injury or illness. If you hurt your ankle, it might swell up (verb) or when you have tonsilitis, your tonsils are swollen (adjective).
It’s probably just a sprain but we need to wait until the swelling goes down to see if there is a fracture or a break.
A sprain (noun) is an injury to a joint in your body (often an ankle or wrist). Footballers often sprain (verb) their ankles. A sprained (adjective) ankle is a common injury. A fracture or a break (nouns) are the same things; they are connected to bones. If you have fractured or broken (verbs) a bone it is usually a more serious problem than a sprain.
Do you have a temperature?
This is one of the most common questions a doctor will ask you. It actually means; 'Do you have a high temperature?' or a temperature that is higher than normal. The doctor is checking to see if you have a fever. One of the symptoms of a fever is a high temperature with other symptoms such as headache, shivering (shaking because you feel cold) and sweating (your skin producing liquid).
Seeing the doctor - A common illness
In the third roleplay, Rich was also speaking to the doctor. He didn't feel well. Here are some of the phrases from roleplay 3:
Can you describe your symptoms?
This is the question that a doctor will often ask you when you say you feel ill or something hurts in a general way. The doctor wants more information. In the example above we described some common symptoms of a fever.
Let’s have a look at your mouth. Open wide.
Rich had a problem with his throat and the instruction 'open wide' is a common one, especially when you see the dentist. It means to open your mouth as much as possible.
I’ll prescribe you some antibiotics and it should clear up in a few days.
I’m going to write a prescription for some painkillers.
The doctor will often tell you to take some medicine such as painkillers (to reduce pain) or antibiotics (to cure infections). The doctor will prescribe some medicine or write a prescription, which is the paper that you take to the pharmacy where you collect your medicine. Alternatively, the doctor might not prescribe medicine such as in the example below:
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of cold drinks that can help soothe your throat a little.
Seeing the doctor - Symptoms
In the sentences below you can see some common symptoms. Do you know the words in bold?
I have a really sore throat, I can hardly swallow anything and an awful headache.
Oh yeah, there’s quite a lot of swelling. Tell me where it hurts.
I've been throwing up all day. I think it might be something I've eaten.
I have a runny nose and I can't stop sneezing. Aitchoo!I can't stop coughing and my throat hurts a little. It feels like something is stuck.
I went to a seafood reastaurant last night and now I've got really bad diarrhoea. I've been on the toilet all morning!
I went for a walk in the forest yesterday and now I have this rash on my arms and hands.
He ran into a goalpost this morning and I'm worried that he might have concussion, doctor.
Try the activity below, match each symptom with its definition. All of the words were used in this podcast.
This week’s task is to describe a common illness or a sport's injury and then to give others advice on their illnesses or injuries.
- You are the patient: Describe your injury or illness using some of the words and phrases you learned in this podcast.
- You are the doctor: Reply to other listener's problems using some of the language you learned in this podcast.
Write your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at our football phrase.