The myth of the rational patient

on

Betabetic

(and the rational doctor).

There is no disputing the fact that the pressure on the open doors of the NHS – primary care, urgent and emergency care – is unmanageable. One recurring cry from GPs and A&E staff is that they are seeing ‘the wrong people’ – that one patient takes up a GP appointment with a ‘trivial problem’ while another fails to get an appointment and becomes an emergency, or at least accesses unscheduled care, as a result. In addition, A&E waiting times are at least in part being affected by the need to triage and see patients who don’t need the specialist services of an emergency department (though this is not the main problem).

Recent NHS England campaigns illustrate the difficulty of trying to modify health-care seeking behaviour that has risk-judgement at its core.

On the one hand we have campaigns such as Choose Well (or as I call…

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