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Social media 'fuel rise in complaints against doctors'

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Social media 'fuel rise in complaints against doctors'

As reported by BBC NEWS HEALTH, 21 July 2014

There are some great, caring individuals in the medical profession, who are not afraid to take the time needed and even go that extra mile for their patients, but I am not surprised at the findings of the General Medical Council report that states that complaints against doctors are increasing.

The report suggests that this is due to social media (presumably giving patients a tool for information and learning about their own health issues and a choice of solutions), and also negative press coverage of the medical profession.

The report does not go into specific details about the rising complaints. As a former manager of a health food shop, I can easily build a picture from the many comments shared by customer’s who felt ‘let down’ by their doctor.

The most common frustration was that they had not been heard properly, resulting in a lack of understanding as to what was really going on for them.

My own experience in listening to my customers, was that it sometimes took them a while to ‘get to the nub’ of their problem, as often they were not even clear themselves until they started to talk things through, which a 10 minute appointment at the clinic simply does not encourage.

Another common frustration was that they were prescribed medication that they really did not want to take and repeatedly told by their doctor that this was the only option, compounding the feeling of not being heard even further.

I think this is what lies at the heart of the matter for lots of patients. Many people want to be involved in finding the best and most appropriate way to treat their ailment, not just ‘patted on the head’ by a doctor and told to take their medicine.

One size does not fit all.

Personally, I wouldn’t expect my GP to know everything there is to know about how nutrition can have a major effect on one’s health, or how activities such as yoga and tai chi may offer relief from stress and anxiety.

However, neither do I appreciate being looked at as if I am a complete ‘numpty’ because I want to take responsibility for my own health and well - being by asking the important question “what is the best thing I can do to help myself?”

Long gone is the automatic reverence for medical professionals. With more people starting to look elsewhere for answers to their problems, it has to be earned by merit.

My hope is that the divide between doctors and patients becomes less so and is instead replaced by an acknowledgement on both sides that the road to good health begins with an individual’s desire to be well.

Whether using allopathic, complimentary modalities or a well discussed combination of both, the patient is much more likely to be restored to good health, when they have been afforded the respect and consideration they deserve.

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Dawn Cawthra

Sales manager at Findhorn Flower Essences.

Producers of self - help remedies for good health and well-being.