• Question: Do you get a lot of patients that come in after reading symptoms online? How would you deal with this?

    Asked by Emma to Chris, Emma, Jonathan, Katharine, Shehla, Simon on 13 Jun 2017.
    • Photo: Emma Rowe

      Emma Rowe answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Yes, I get a few.
      Everyone is entitled to come to their nurse for a discussion about their worries with their health and I can signpost them to the GP with their concerns or if they are wanting investigations. I am not able to authorise tests so sometimes my hands are tied to help them straight away, but I can provide reassurance and go through their information they’ve googled and see if it’s accurate or not.

    • Photo: Jonathan Harte

      Jonathan Harte answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Not too many where I work, but its getting more common – Dr Google! You have take their concerns seriously and go through their symptoms and fear of what they might have.
      Then its back to basics – history, examination, investigation, diagnosis, plan.
      The tricky bit is if you disagree about whether a referral to a “specialist” is needed or a “scan”. Luckily as you get more experienced that becomes easier to manage.

    • Photo: Katharine Bradbury

      Katharine Bradbury answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      Yes – it’s great that patients are interested in finding out more about their symptoms and I’m happy to discuss their research. However some websites are more accurate than others so I try to point them in the direction of helpful information like Patient UK and the NHS website.

    • Photo: Christopher Symonds

      Christopher Symonds answered on 14 Jun 2017:

      My GP’s do tell me that the internet can be a big problem for them if patients come in stating that they have a particular problem and what they need to cure it. I believe the GP’s will listen to their concerns but then try and do the normal investigations to either confirm google’s diagnosis or show that it is not correct.

    • Photo: Simon Browes

      Simon Browes answered on 14 Jun 2017:

      It can be a really helpful thing and get people to seek help about things that have been worrying them. I also use the internet to support my patients in helping themselves. I sometimes point out that “Google” will give you the most popular answers, not necessarily the right ones! There are some really excellent websites out there and the internet definitely has a bigger role to play in the future of GP.