Doctor shopping has had bad press. On one level, rightly so.
Doctor shopping is often defined as seeing multiple treatment providers, either during a single illness episode or to procure prescription medications illicitly.
Doctor shopping can also mean going out deliberately to find a doctor one likes and trusts. That’s an important aspect of health care for everyone.
Finding a good general practitioner is especially important for older men and women. As Katherine Hepburn is supposed to have said, ‘Old age is not for sissies.’ As we age, we are prone to aches and pains and chronic illnesses. Our hearing and our sight need attention. Many ailments cause us to seek medical assistance.
My experience, however, tells me that an older person is highly likely to be discounted or dismissed by health professionals. You can almost hear them think, ‘Oh, oh, another geriatric.’
Why doctor shopping has its place in our health care
- Everyone has the right to choose who provides their health care.
- Health care should be a partnership between health professionals and patients.
- As patients, we have a right to be involved in our own care.
- We have a right to be heard.
- We have a right to be consulted.
- We need explanations about health conditions and available treatments.
- No one has to put up with poor service in any part of their life.
How to go doctor shopping
- Remember you have every right to change doctors. It’s your call.
- Remember you don’t return to shops or restaurants where the service is shoddy or the staff are rude.
- Make a list of what you want from a GP and the practice.
- Look for a new general practitioner when you are well. A minor ailment is a good excuse.
- If necessary take someone with you. Ask for their support. They must be willing to assess the new doctor. They must be happy to advocate on your behalf.
- Be honest. Tell the GP you are looking for a new doctor. You don’t have to give a reason. If you want to, of course, go for it.
Thanks for visiting my blog. I’d love to hear about your experiences of doctor shopping.