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Jane Bates: Patients must start taking responsibility for their own health

With the NHS more understaffed than ever, patients have to start meeting health professionals half way by at least providing us with essential information, says Jane Bates. 
Take_responsibility-iStock.jpg

With the NHS more understaffed than ever, patients have to start meeting health professionals half way by at least providing us with essential information, says Jane Bates

What should I do? I mustn't nanny him. He is a grown man with a responsible job. It is his life, his health, his problem. But still.

The patient declared on his first visit to hospital that he was extremely allergic to a drug, but could not remember which one. There was no mention of this in his notes, so he was asked to find out before his proposed operation.

He arrived on the day of surgery having done nothing to discover which drug it was, yet refused to take any medication because he was afraid of reacting so severely again.

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With the NHS more understaffed than ever, patients have to start meeting health professionals half way by at least providing us with essential information, says Jane Bates 


Those who are able to must take some responsibility for their own health. Picture: iStock

What should I do? I mustn't nanny him. He is a grown man with a responsible job. It is his life, his health, his problem. But still.

The patient declared on his first visit to hospital that he was extremely allergic to a drug, but could not remember which one. There was no mention of this in his notes, so he was asked to find out before his proposed operation. 

He arrived on the day of surgery having done nothing to discover which drug it was, yet refused to take any medication because he was afraid of reacting so severely again. The surgeon could not proceed before finding out, so it was down to me to investigate. And quickly. 

Help staff where possible

What did you take it for? I asked him, as the minutes ticked by. He could not remember. Did you inhale it, swallow it, inject it, rub it on, insert it into an orifice? He shrugged. The GP surgery did not know, and in the end it was his local pharmacy who came up trumps. Penicillin. Job done. Or was it?

The patient could easily have found this information out for himself, but he hadn't, so using words like 'vital' and 'crucial', I asked him to inform his GP and make a note to himself that he was allergic to penicillin. Get a drug alert bracelet. Do something.

Patients who are able to, have to take some responsibility for their own health, especially now the NHS is more understaffed than ever. But I have a funny feeling that this patient won't do a thing. 


About the author 

 

 

 

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

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