Almost a third of patients don’t feel comfortable challenging a doctor about advice or treatment recommendations, even if they want to, according to new research from Bupa.
A survey of attitudes to health across 14,500 people in 13 nations reveals that people in Egypt and Saudi Arabia feel most confident questioning their doctor with three quarters of respondents willing to do so, compared with just over half of Brits and only 41% in Spain and Hong Kong.
The research also reveals that people who feel least positive about their health and those who admit to having a poor diet are least likely to engage with a medic.
Bupa chief medical officer, Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, comments: “It’s very important for people to feel empowered to ask questions, discuss alternative treatments and to fully understand the risks and benefits of a procedure.”
He adds: “Everyone benefits because patients who are involved in decisions about their care are much more likely to have a satisfactory result.”
Lack of confidence with doctors could also be fuelling a rise in people seeking to self-diagnose by using the internet to research conditions, treatments and medicines.
The Bupa survey found that 87% of respondents used the internet to search for advice about their health and medical conditions, with the most common use to look for information about a medicine (56%).
However, less than half stated that they always check the source of the information to ensure it’s credible.