Patients are encouraged to ask their doctor five questions

If you had the option to be more in control of your care would you take the opportunity or are you of the view that “doctor knows best”?

Dr Catherine Calderwood, chief medical officer for Scotland, is encouraging conversations between patient and clinician to develop a ‘realistic medicine’ strategy.

NHS Borders has been trying out the five realistic medicine questions in the BGH outpatients department: Is this test, treatment or procedure really needed? What are the benefits and what are the downsides? What are the possible side-effects? Are there simpler or safer options? What would happen if I did nothing?

Now Dr Cliff Sharp, medical director at NHS Borders, is encouraging all patients to ask the questions.

He said: “The value of realistic medicine is that it encourages discussion about the possibility that patients are receiving treatment that may add little or no value in relation to their clinical condition.

“It encourages clinicians to identify, understand and address unacceptable or unwarranted variation in clinical practice, and at its very core it aims to deliver a more appropriate, and a much more personalised approach to care which, of course, is incredibly important for the health and wellbeing of our patients.

“I would encourage all patients attending appointments in our facilities to really get involved with the professionals they see by asking some or all of the five questions where appropriate.”