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Fat, mad, middle aged, menopausal women

The Evolving Patient

Joanne Shaw

Thursday, 22 May 2008

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I had a surprising encounter yesterday with two cheerful and competent women who run support groups for patients with thyroid disease. Here’s their view of the hot issues for thyroid patients:

  1. not being taken seriously and being talked down to by GPs
  2. having test results withheld by receptionists - being told they are allowed to know that they are normal, but not the detail
  3. being charged £50 for special consultations if they want to know their full results.

I was truly amazed.

The ladies reassured me that these problems are far from universal. For example, some practices are happy routinely to fax full results to patients without charge, which is much appreciated. But people ringing patient support groups to ask for advice regularly report negative experiences of this kind.

This is an anecdote, not evidence, and hopefully it’s not a fair reflection of most people’s experience. I may be naïve but surely care like this is incompatible with an NHS that works in partnership with patients and encourages them to take responsibility for their own health.

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Joanne Shaw

Joanne sits on the boards of various health care organisations including: ‘Ask About Medicines’, the independent campaign to increase people's involvement in decisions about their use of medicines; NHS Direct; the Long-Term Conditions Alliance; and Datapharm Communications, which provides medicines information to the NHS, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public. She has an interest in medicine-taking and in shared decision making between patients and health professionals, and writes occasionally for medical, nursing and pharmacy publications. The views expressed in her blog are very definitely personal and cannot be blamed on any of the organisations with which she works.

How would qualify the communication between primary and secondary care services? (See OnMedica News 20/04)

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