GP of the Year sees patients as people: This shouldn’t be news

boyceI’d just like to take a moment to excerpt an MDA magazine interview with Dr Christine Boyce, who was awarded GP of the Year 2008. Dublin-trained, Boyce practises in Tasmania. She has specific interests in teaching and in adolescent and refugee health, and runs an open-access clinic for refugees at her practice. Here are the snippets which give me hope:

If you could change one thing about general practice, what would it be?

Bring back the house call. Make it a standard part of care for housebound people and remunerate it adequately.

In closing…

My personal crusade is to remove the word “patient” from the vocabulary by 2020. Early experiments with “person/people” have proved this a perfectly explanatory word that reinforces, rather than erodes, the modern partnership between us and the people who seek our advice.

You can see the whole interview here: Defence Update Autumn 2009. The issue also has an article warning doctors about Facebook.

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Categories: language, medicine

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4 replies

  1. Nice one. Though personally, I’m not too stressed about the word “patients”: it seems kind of old-fashioned and sweet. What *really* gets up my nose is “clients”.

  2. … or worse, “customers”.
    Cath the Canberra Cook’s last blog post..Meat lovers: check this out

  3. I don’t know – I have a (debatable, obv.) soft spot for “customers”, though I don’t tend to use it myself. I think it does have the potential to upset the professional/supplicant power dynamic a little. A customer is someone who is served, and who has a recognised right to object if they’re not served to their satisfaction; a patient is someone who is told what to do and labelled “non-compliant” if they don’t.

  4. My personal favourite is the idea that probably only prostitutes, drug pushers and librarians refer to the other half of the conversation as “users”. Being a librarian, this tickles my warped sense of humour on occasion.
    In the health area I sometimes consider myself a ‘client’, as I am less informed as to what is wrong with me when I do go to the doctor’s surgery apart from reporting symptoms than I am when I am a ‘customer’ in almost any other circumstance.
    But I am never willingly patient, especially if I am not well *wryness*

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