My doctor isn’t listening to me, what can I do?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

It can be distressing to feel that your doctor isn’t listening to you, so here are some tips which can help in handling the situation. You should never be afraid to speak up if you feel something is wrong. We all know the NHS is under extreme pressure, especially during the winter months, but however busy they are, you have a right to be heard.

When raising your concerns, start by repeating your point, and begin by saying something like, “I don’t think I’ve made myself very clear.” It’s best to be assertive but not aggressive, as that will make him or her feel defensive. Ask them to go over your diagnosis again, and explain anything you don’t understand. If you’re unhappy with your diagnosis, or want to discuss an alternative course of treatment, discuss this with them.


A second opinion

If you still feel you aren’t getting through to him or her, make an appointment with a different doctor in the practice if that’s possible. It’s important to have a good rapport with your doctor, so if you feel that communication with your current GP is just not working, you may have to consider changing your doctor or moving to another practice.


Specialist referral

If you want to be referred to a specialist, whilst you don’t have a legal right to be referred, your GP is required to follow clinical guidelines. So, if your GP thinks that a referral isn’t appropriate, they should explain the reasons for their decision.


Making a complaint

If your concerns aren’t resolved, and you have issues with the practice, you should raise these with your GP, or with the Practice Manager. If the matter isn’t resolved at this level, you can make a formal complaint as long as it’s within 12 months of the incident. All practices have a written complaints procedure in place, so you should be able to get a copy at reception.

Alternatively, you can lodge a complaint with your Primary Care Trust. All trusts have a manager designated to deal with complaints. You can find the details on the NHS Choices website or you can call NHS Direct.

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