Julia Manning says that rising complaints by the public about GP’s bedside manner and their openness needs to be heeded by the profession.
Commenting on the GMC annual report ‘State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK’ Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health said:
“The fact that more patients are complaining is a key barometer of patient satisfaction, confidence and expectations.
“The public has access so much more information via the internet that many people expect a higher level discussion with their GP than before. Patients are also growing in confidence, a necessary component of self-care, and when the GP is not receptive to this then disappointment can ensue. Some doctors are still very paternalistic in their approach, abruptly denying requests for copies of information or records despite the patient’s legal rights, and with the plan for patients to be able to see their GP records online by 2015 this is totally unacceptable.
“That said, some patients are trouble makers and others have unrealistic expectations of what they can receive. There is a real lack of clarity about what services, choices and treatments are available and this can lead to both disappointment and a sense that your needs have not been taken seriously.
“2020health’s new report ‘Forgotten Conditions’ also highlights ways in which GPs can better meet the needs of patients with rare diseases. These patients in particular can feel very sidelined and it would be interesting to know a break-down of patient conditions amongst those who have complained to see if there is a correlation with this.
“Many GPs give a fantastic service but there are those who need to heed this report and improve their bedside manner and willingness to engage. We believe that taking time to listen to a patient’s sincere concerns gives GP’s insight which ultimately makes their job more rewarding.”