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Patients who ask questions get better treatment

19 May 2008

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A new report on the benefits and risks of medical treatments has found that patients who challenge doctors and other health professionals about their medicines gain the best treatment plans.

Finding the Balance – a joint report by the Long-term Conditions Alliance (LTCA) and Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – said that patients need to ask questions and raise concerns about their treatments.

While doctors do realise the importance of patient involvement, the time constraints affecting modern GP surgeries means that they often failed to prioritise such discussions.

As a result, some patients are not taking their medicines correctly, which makes them less effective and potentially less safe.

The aim of the report is to generate discussions among health professionals on how best to inform patients. For example, nurses and local pharmacists could play a more active role, and doctors’ surgeries provide patient information corners.

The findings of the report are echoed in the annual patient satisfaction survey undertaken by the Department of Health. Although the majority of patients were satisfied with their appointments, 2.7 million adults felt that their choice of hospital treatment was not adequately reviewed.

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