What about a poll re Clinic reports: how often do yours seem accurate to you?

I totally like (even love) my NHS rheumatology clinic. In 3+ years of my late 50s, their insight & systemic treatment have turned my life around for the better. Likewise I totally like (even love) most all of the other NHS clinics I attend regularly (ophthalmology, ENT, maxo-facial, gyn, orthopaedics etc etc). But, each time I read a clinic report, there Is at least 1 factual error (repeat meds missed out, conditions mixed up etc) and often one of the main topics discussed in the appt isn't mentioned.

Of course, our consultants are under a lot of heavy duty practical professional pressures, and personal pressure, which are bound to influence report composition. And each consultant inevitably takes an informed view during a consultation, intending to cover as efficiently as time allows, what seem to be the most significant points raised. So, ok, they must edit an appt down to the essentials for a report.

But, now that we're relied on by the NHS to become as expert as poss re our own conditions & treatment plans, isn't some sort of correction to iffy reports required? I, in a simple friendly (sheesh) matter of fact way, hoping not to get the consultant's back up, do my corrections to the last report received at the next consultation...And sometimes I see these corrections included in the ensuing report...but not always...I tell myself this is life & the facts come up in the course of time....but I still feel a degree of concern

So, I'm wondering what others experience: would anyone like to set up a poll re how often clinic reports seem accurate? I'm not technical enough to set one up....

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13 Replies

  • It does depend to a degree on who I actually see but all of them generally manage to get my name and the clinic date correct.

    Then there is a bit of a scale of percentages as to how much is representative of what has been discussed depending on who I have seen.

    Some make me question my own memory so much that now I usually take another person along. But he is equally convinced that the reports are often not quite correct.

    The reports may actually be written up by another person and its possibly part of the reasons for errors. A bit like a game of chinese whispers

  • Now, that's an interesting angle: the involvement of another person: makes a lot of sense...many thanks

    YES! Having someone with you is a really big help on several levels (moral support, witness etc). So far, in all my years & decades of attending NHS clinics, I've never actually had someone with me...instead I do a lot of careful prep for appts, which means I sort of feel as if 2 of me are at the appt (sounds odd, but works for me up to a point). And now, after several years on this forum, I feel I've also got you guys with me at appts...this really helps me feel more confident and capable of engaging with a consultant

    Thanks for your thoughts on this - and for making me laugh: yes, my name & date of clinic at, and even my birth, have always been correct!

  • That screams out "a C*&p doctor" Do not return .....LOL seriously, could be a mistake.....

  • There are errors at times, but so long as they are errors which will not affect my main purpose of seeing the consultant, then I wouldn't be obsessed over them. Over time, things can be corrected as you see the same clinician again. There are some clinical letters which annoy me quite a bit, but never ones written by my present rheumy, after all rheumy must be good at remembering so many symptoms of autoimmune conditions! They better have a very good memory but if there were errors, then next time you see him / her, just reiterate......

  • I like the way you're thinking: many thanks!

  • Ask Paul to set up the poll, he does it in no time. I think it would be a useful poll to have - many take the results as they come, without looking at their accuracy. The poll could help raise awareness.

  • Ah ha: that's the way to do it! Thanks for the guidance, will do!

    My feeling is that the system seems accommodated to the 'reality' that consultant reports simply cannot be comprehensive. So these reports intend to only include mention of the relatively most important active diagnosis & treatment in process.

    At least, my gps & I have been able to proceed on that basis all these decades...so far my gps seem to take my word regarding any issues we'd relied on my getting consultant guidance on during an appt...e.g. This last clinic appt, my GP specifically asked me to clarify the specific monthly myco blood tests we have done, because those stipulated in the Shared Guidelines Document for this phase of my myco treatment monitoring had 2 or so extra monthly tests added by hand by my consultants to the printed list. In that recent clinic appt, the consultant told me to include these extra hand written tests ongoing in my monthly myco bloods. But no mention is made of this in the appt report. I'm sure my clinic & my GP will be happy to take my word on this....but....

  • Hi Barnclown

    I think a poll about accuracy of clinic letters is a good idea, could be interesting results!.

    Over the years of seeing many different Consultants , there clinic letters have always been a true reflection of the consultation. It's only been recently going to the Pain Clinic have I had the Consultant writing as if I am a completely different patient with a different diagnosis etc. i haven't been sure how to handle it so am interested in you bravely sorting out any inaccuracies at next appt!. I tend to think leave well alone as you don't want to put their backs up specially if ongoing treatment is needed but then they shouldn't get away with it?. I have started taking someone with me just to her appt's and have seen an improvement in accuracy!. I did also talk to my GP and he wrote a letter to her explaining my concerns and she replied and it was obvious she didn't like being questioned so you do have to be careful but she did reassure me that she knew me and my case very well despite her letters . Now when I see her I feel I've earned her respect and she does treat me like that. Another point to make is a lot of us patients need these letters as proof of illness for benefit claims so they do need to be accurate!.

    You've posed a very interesting question once again Barnclown. Hope your wellX

  • Yes, misty: exactly: your analysis & examples are totally to the point! This IS a delicate aspect of the relationship between us & our consultant, and needs to be handled with great consideration. Thank you for such a well put response to my question!!xo

  • "It's only been recently going to the Pain Clinic have I had the Consultant writing as if I am a completely different patient with a different diagnosis etc."

    I wonder....You have just reminded me of mine in London. Pain clinic chap in London. After reading his clinical letter, I did not return as I saw it as a sign of poor quality doctoring even when he was working from a supposed to be a specialist "outlet". I'm very selective as I hate to have a bad experience, e.g. treated as if I were someone else or doctors don't even remember who you are or confused with someone else based on assumptions.

    Relationship with consultants has to be based on mutual trust though this can be hard to achieve in busy clinical outpatient appointments. I personally think rheumy is excellent when it comes to symptom taking and history taking. Perhaps, they're given far more time to deal with these sort of aspects in patients, I honestly do not know. I have a Neuro, he's been getting busier and busier and he hasn't been dealing with updates too well since some time. Unfortunately, I started to lose faith in him, been challenging to say the least. NHS ought to give doctors more time to consider for the patients. Once the patients become a number simply going through the revolving doors of doctors...that's when poor doctoring occurs and receiving a clinic letter as if it was written for someone else~LOL... Luckily, not from my rheumy so far......But these things do happen and these are signs of something not working quite right.

  • yes: these things do happen

    my best example of a clinical report sent to me when the consultant must've written as least part of the report with another patient in mind, was back in the '90s when i was referred to a big chief neuro surgeon in london. on the day i saw the great man, he did give me one particularly good & new piece of advice/feedback. but when his report arrived, his opening comment was that he'd never seen anyone with such bad posture...which flabbergasted me because, hmmmm, the ONE thing everyone (every consultant, gp, physio, alexander teachere, alternative practitioner etc etc & virtually everyone else too - my friends & family etc etc) almost unfailingly says is that my posture is exceptionally good (it sort of has to be or my spondylosis makes life unmanageable)...,

  • Hi Barnclown, I am so glad you suggested this. Even though I see the same rheumatologist each time I go the errors in the reports I get a copy of are laughable. I have had my surname incorrect, mention of joints that are swollen (when he hasn't even checked them), the last one mentioned how well I was doing (he obviously hadn't been listening or looking) as I hobbled in with my stick etc.....it sounded like I could have gone off skiing!! I am now waiting for my recent report. I rang after my appointment as I was unsure if I should be taking 17.5mg or 20mg of methotrexate and got a non decisive reply from his secretary who apparently had asked him....the reply being check what he says in his report! It does all concern me greatly as in an emergency you wonder how the inaccurate notes may effect treatment.

  • There it is! I'm glad this isn't just happening to me. Laughable is a good description. And how this effects treatment in an emergency is as much a main concern as how we'd be effected should a new consultant inherit these reports and taken their content as givens. Many thanks for your reply loopy-Lou!

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