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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has said patients should question their GPs about the benefits of the treatments they are being prescribed.
They mean well. Obviously, it is a good thing if patients are more knowledgeable about their care. Who knows, it may inspire them to take self-care more seriously.
Professor Dame Sue Bailey, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ Choosing Wisely campaign lead, says: ‘Too often patients just accept what a doctor is telling them without question.
‘We want to change that dynamic and make sure the decision about what treatment is taken up is only made when the patient is fully informed of all the consequences.’
But I can’t help but feel as though the academy’s timing is all wrong. In an ideal world, GPs would be able to offer 20-30 minute appointments and discuss treatments with the patients that need it, so they are less likely to need unnecessary follow-up appointments .
This is not an ideal world. This is a world where BMA representatives feel compelled to vote in favour of capping the number of GP appointments to protect the ‘sanity’ of GPs.
Patients will pay heed to the advice from the academy. So when they are politely informed that the GP is unable to spare more than ten minutes, it will not help the GP or the patient.
This is indicative of the ‘ideal’ care scenarios so often espoused by high-minded organisations. Unfortunately, it has unwanted repercussions for the real world we live in.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse