Sunday, 7 October 2012

Turning the tables

Ask a group of patients what they want . . . Their wish list for NHS services, and what does it look like? A massive restructuring and to-do list for managers and NHS staff! But there are some things that patients can do themselves to help make their wish lists more of a reality. This is not to say that patients can solve all the problems of the NHS themselves, but rather that they have some power to change their healthcare environment to better suit their needs.

For example, having to repeat medical history numerous times per admission/appointment/professional - a recurring comment from patients I think! Taking an A4 sheet with your full medical history and all answers to the questions that you are always asked, so you can pass it to the healthcare professional and not have to repeat it so often? Helping reduce the issue maybe?

Medical notes are never all together and my doctor never has the most up-to-date ones . . . This is very familiar to me! All patients have the option to be cced into all medical correspondence about them - patients can then have a full set of letters with them for every appointment, able to fill in the gaps for the doctor!

This issues affect all patients, but one group of patients are equipped to find their own solutions like those mentioned above are patients with long-term health conditions who actively and effectively self-manage their conditions. Without being pessimistic and actually just being realistic, the wish list for the NHS is never going to happen overnight. For the foreseeable future these issues will remain, but we are not 100% powerless to influence the situation slightly for our own benefit as patients! I think that is one of the most valuable lessons of self-management!

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