Should patients be pushier with GPs to get important drugs?

Interesting article on the BBC Website:

Notable Prof David Haslam, chairman of NICE has said that UK patients should imitate their US cousins and be more insistent with their doctors to ensure they are getting the best drugs and treatments for their condition.

This is following on from statistics that show there has been very low take up of some of the drugs that have NICE approval, lower than should be expected.

There is probably two sides of this story - patients should be on top of their own condition and less reliant on medical professionals to know everything all the time and there maybe a need for a better system to keep doctors up to date without drowning them in information.

Of course, a good simple IT system would help, but since that seems to be an impossibility because of how the gov/NHS gets abused by the IT industry, that seems unlikely to happen. (

Last edited by

3 Replies

  • General practice is a confidential service based on mutual trust. Every patient should feel an equal partner in that relationship, which is what Prof Haslam was saying.

    Being "pushy" is not the same as being assertive and in this respect teh Daily Telegraph and BBC have miss quoted him. Do you get the best out of your GP by being "pushy"?

  • Well, we had a situation where a member of our family was very ill and we knew there was a high likely hood that it was swine flu (we have medical expertise within the family, so were not just grabbing an idea out of the air). The family member had asthma and was suffering from other chest issues, so this was the last thing they needed.

    Our GP got very rude about it and told us we were being ridiculous. So I pushed him very hard to take a sample and get it tested. He eventually (and without good grace) agreed.

    It came back positive.

    In an ideal world I agree - a trusting, open relationship is what you want and works best. Sadly, that is not always possible and just like any other profession there are some amazingly good GPs and there are some disgracefully bad ones. Unfortunately, with some health issues, you do not have the luxury of time to negotiate your way around any problems.

    I have to say, this is not always a patient to doctor issue. I can think of a few doctors who have found dealing with another doctor over a particular patient a bit like pulling teeth! And there are plenty of very senior nurses out there who will tell you horror stories of dealing with doctors who were stubbornly wandering in the wrong direction. :)

  • Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately the noble aspiration of participatory medicine ( ) is still only possible when the patient *and* professionals participate. If doctors or nurses are rushed/disinterested/incompetent etc then it's often only the 'pushy' (rather a broad brush concept) who manage to get them to engage with them fully and on a level playing field. I congratulate JossS on your persistence. It's often very challenging to get the guts to push. You don't have to be a Foucaultian to believe that doctors are not always right.

You may also like...