Top insider tips to getting the best of the NHS

I'm surprised at myself to be pointing people to a Daily Mail health article but Dr Phil Hammond's piece in last week's Mail is really something people who regularly need to use the NHS should read. It's all common sense but then common sense seems to desert the most headstrong of us when confronted with a doctor's surgery!

I particularly the questions he recommends asking any person treating you for a serious, life-threatening or life-limiting disease. It's not about being a 'cocky' patient, it's about putting ourselves on an equal footing to those who hold our health and wellbeing in their hands.

Are you a specialist for this particular condition?

What are the pros and cons of each option for me?

What are your personal (or your team's) outcome figures for each of these options, and how do they compare with the NHS average?

Do you know of any other specialist team in the NHS with more expertise than you, or who can offer me options you're not able to?

Have a read here

I'm not going to advertise Dr Phil's book on an NHS forum but you can guess what it's called in the clip below - apparently it's what doctors hum to keep timing as they are giving CPR!

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10 Replies

  • I can fully agree with that.

    The Mail's headline says it better for me;

    The more involved you are, the more likely you are to get the right care

    That means checking your diagnosis and chasing results and referrals

    It also includes finding out about your illness, treatment and rights

    The article goes on to say 'If you get access to a specialist nurse, it can make a huge difference to the quality of your care ' Better still is access to an expert patient or patients they live with it 24/7 not 9-5. This is where the internet and disease/condition specific forums can be really useful.

  • I can just remember the reactions of most of the doctors I've seen to a bunch of questions like that! lol

  • My experience is that GPs can not be trusted with my health. The default diagnosis these days seems to be "you're depressed".

  • What, all GPs can't be trusted?

    Have you always been of that opinion or is it just since your diagnosis?

  • mrschips - since I was left very ill and told that I was depressed which was nonsense, as has been proved. Prefer to avoid the NHS as I have zero confidence in it.

  • well, its one of them, until it happens to you-you will never understand! ...Trust nobody-ESPECIALLY THE MEDICAL LOT!

  • Zero confidence in ALL the NHS or just in relation to your thyroid?

  • I was thinking "why call his book Nellie the elephant?"

  • Why is my daughter left suffering with a hole in the heart. Its not priority to have the hole fixed now. She is not well.

  • In an ideal world this would obviously be good advice... But before you act upon it, be aware that an alarming number of professionals in the NHS do not have the respect for patients or maturity to react to these questions in the helpful way they should. And with many people being made to suffer well over a year for the care/treatment they seriously need, this may only extend your wait longer.

    I'm not saying don't do it, just make sure you have considered how these actions could affect you negatively as well as positively. The NHS is not an organisation our country can be proud of.

    That said, always make sure you are paying full attention to who and and what is involved in your care. I wouldn't of believed some of the stuff I saw in hospital if I hadn't seen it myself, some of the negligence is truly horrific...

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