Do you know what your patient is thinking?

  • Snow R
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The way GP surgery and hospital outpatient encounters are organised—limited time, the power relations in the room—means that many things are left unsaid. As a patient this frustrates me; it’s a missed opportunity. I have a long term condition that means I see healthcare professionals a lot. I’ve experienced a range of attitudes and types of care: from care that was so good it still makes me smile in gratitude 20 years later to dangerously bad care that reduced me to angry sobbing once I’d left the clinic.The only similarity in all these encounters is that I couldn’t tell any of those doctors what I thought. All he or she will have noticed is a moderately compliant patient nodding along. … [...] In our new patient led and patient authored series, What Your Patient is Thinking, we hope to redress this balance a little. The points made will range from practical hints and tips for meeting needs specific to certain conditions through to challenges to the medical status quo. What they will all do is offer practical things you can do differently tomorrow as a result of reading what we have to say. You may not agree with the authors’ views; you may already be doing the things they suggest. But at the very least we want to offer you the opportunity to find out what we might be thinking at those times when it’s too difficult for us to tell you directly. The series, running monthly at first, is part of The BMJ’s patient partnership strategy ( The first in the series may make some readers uncomfortable (doi:

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  • Rosamund Snow

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