Monday, July 14, 2008

Great Care?

As far as I can make out the main arguments the medical bloggers have against this site (and others like it which have been around far longer) can be summarised as follows;

That it is shabby and unpleasant
That the families of recently deceased doctors might be distressed by their reviews,and that they may be posthumous.
That it is not a reliable or valid way of assessing doctors.


Having spent some time thinking about the issue I keep returning to the same conclusion. Whilst I'm not necessarily in favour of such sites, and nor do I for one moment believe the rubbish spouted about doctors in the media, I just can't see why being publicly reviewed is such a heinous crime . Dr Crippen initially cites an example of a woman negatively reviewing her mother's consultant and later that of a Dr Julie Webster by a patient Dr Crippen describes as wanting to be treated by
a 'homeopathist, or some such wibble merchant'

However, upon reading the relevant reviews, the criticism made of Dr Webster is actually that she can be very abrupt and that they got the feeling she could not be bothered. The final comment is that she had very limited views on 'alternative' types of care etc
As there is no definition of what 'alternative' means in this particular circumstance it seems a bit of a leap to insist it is wibble. It seems more like a reasonable criticism by a patient of a doctor, especially in light of the actual ratings given, 70% for trust, and 55% for listening. Another patient has provided a glowing review of Dr Webster, leaving the overall picture for a potential patient that this is a pretty decent family doctor who perhaps can comes across as not having quite enough patience on occasion.

Although I have just posted multiple experiences of poor treatment by doctors I can cite as many examples of wonderful treatment. I don't have enough good things to say about my current GP, but I know plenty of people who couldn't say enough bad.

I'm not sure that there are good or bad doctors as such, rather I believe there are doctors, any of whom can be good or bad depending on the circumstances. Ultimately the real issue here is one of the best possible care for all patients in all possible situations and how to achieve that.

Perhaps I would find it easier to understand the upset of the medical blogosphere if they separated the issues surrounding the idea of patients being able to publicly review doctors from those concerning the owner of the site? Oh, and whilst we're at it, perhaps it is time to move from this constant criticism and constructively debate what needs to be done to reform our health service and how all of us might best effect those changes.





3 comments:

Trixie said...

Tell you what, I think the internet was the best thing ever invented. Helps us there is 'other' people out there who know what they are talking about!

(even my own doctor recommended a website HE uses!!)

Marla said...

I agree, the internet really helps us find out what others are thinking about a doctor. The medical profession and others as well need to understand that it is here to stay. Possibly they need to improve their services to avoid negative publicity. The same goes for schools and day care centers. I wish when M was little I had more access to information about bad doctors and bad schools. Would have saved me and M a lot of hardship.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Trixie: Couldn't agree more! Sure there's a remarkable amount of ridiculously stupid 'medical' sites out there, but that's for individuals to discern, and I would hope a good doctor would guide their patients to reputable sites not just dismiss the idea as a threat to their professional authority

Marla: Absolutely, and your point that the medical profession need to understand it's here to stay is a really important one. They can either adapt and improve from it or stick their heads in the sand whilst shouting about how dreadful it all is.
I know what you mean about how much easier things are with the right information, I also think that takes the pressure off professionals in the sense that people can act more for themselves and not be so dependant.