The UK government's patient-led NHS will not improve health

07/27/05

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday July 29, 2005. In North America the embargo lists at 6:30pm ET Thursday July 28, 2005.

The UK Government's view of improving the NHS by making it patient-led and encouraging patients to complain more will not lead to better health, states an editorial in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Liam Donaldson, the UK Chief Medical Officer, wants patients' feedback to assume a similar role to that of customer feedback in big supermarket chains, states the editorial. However, by focusing on patients' complaints culture, he fails to address one of the most important challenges facing modern medicine: the need to strengthen the patient-doctor partnership.

The Lancet comments: "Patients have a wealth of information at their fingertips through the internet. What most do not have, however, is the skill and knowledge to sift useful and valid information and evidence from useless or harmful advice. In a mutually beneficial and effective patient-doctor partnership, medical expertise and knowledge need to be an accepted and valued part of that interaction, just as much as doctors need to have the time and skills to communicate preventive measures and treatment choices to patients appropriately. Patients do not need to complain more. Instead, doctors and patients need to listen to one another more. Naked consumerism will not lead to better health."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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