I was recently on the 'other' side of receiving care, as a relative of a patient. I had the opportunity to have a front row seat in viewing the exchange of communication between different healthcare professionals and said patient. Or should I say, the lack of communication.
In urgent care, the triage nurse tutted and sighed when we asked how long it was going to be until my relative was seen….to point out, this was after four hours of waiting without any form of communication. After waiting close to five hours, we received the required referral to the surgical team.
We eagerly awaited the surgeon's call, who then abruptly called in my relative by her surname. I walked in behind and, on hearing them continuing to address her by her surname, I politely informed them of her first name. The surgeon looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, she's here, isn't she?"
Such acts of uncompassionate behaviour have a hugely detrimental impact on the trust and bond formed between doctor and patient.
As doctors, it is imperative that we remember the patient in front of us is first and foremost a human being who deserves to be treated with respect and compassion.
When 'rethinking medicine' we, as healthcare professionals, should consider reacquainting ourselves with simple good manners. This is vital in the development of trust and rapport and ensuring the continuing sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship.
Amrita Sen Mukherjee is a GP with an interest in physician health. She is a Next Generation GP London Leader and represents her colleagues as the Co-Lead for the RCGP First5 Committee, South East Thames region.