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Not listening leads to litigation

A survey of over 60,000 patients treated by the NHS found that one in five felt they were not given enough information about their condition or treatment; a quarter of those surveyed had experienced feeling ‘invisible’ and yet another quarter felt there was nobody they could talk to about their concerns.

The results of the research, conducted by the Care Quality Commission, showed that this behaviour is all too common, The Telegraph correspondent Max Pemberton said.

“These findings are important because they show how patients evaluate their quality of care. While doctors like to focus on treatment outcomes, patients focus on delivery.

“Research from around the world has consistently shown that it doesn’t matter which country you live in or the quality of medicine practised, the good or bad experience of most patients depends on the empathy and courtesy of the doctor.”

He pointed out that the getting clinical staff to listen should not be brushed off lightly and said: “there is a direct correlation between poor communication and litigation, which is borne out by surprising statistics”.

“About 70% of litigation against hospitals and doctors is directly related to poor communication after an adverse event, with patients feeling deserted, devalued or misunderstood. Astonishingly, two thirds of claims against doctors come from patients with no adverse outcomes or evidence of negligence – it’s simply that they feel their care wasn’t adequate. Yet only 3% of patients who suffer some kind of genuine negligence actually file some form of claim.”