15 May 2012

Listening is the Lynchpin of Good Patient Care, says RCGP Chair

The ability to listen to patients and help them make informed choices about their health remains the true strength of general practice, says RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada.

Speaking at Oxford this week (8/5) to an audience of health professionals paying tribute to the work of the late Dr Ann McPherson, Dr Gerada said that being an excellent communicator and listening to patient concerns were values on which general practice – and the wider NHS – were  built.

She commended Dr McPherson, a GP in Oxford,  for fighting for what she believed in and for standing up and giving patients a voice – particularly through her work with the Healthtalkonline.org website which helps patients share their health concerns.

Dr Gerada said: “Professionals, policy makers and the public must do everything possible to make sure that the sound of the patient’s voice isn’t drowned out by the noisy machinery of the market. 

“Most people’s experience of health care centres around the degree and quality of kindness they have experienced – or the lack of it. The quality of listening must be at the centre of all good healthcare. 

“It has never been more important to hold onto our values - the values that were there at the beginning of the NHS, which have held it together and made it the success it is, and which are embodied in Ann’s work. 

“If we’re going to keep the founding values of the NHS alive,  the patient’s voice must be our guide”.

Dr Gerada’s full speech Hearing the patient’s voice in a changing NHS presented in memory of Dr Ann McPherson is available on the RCGP website - Dr Gerada's speech is the intellectual property of the RCGP.


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