World Patient Safety Day: what role for HIFA? (6) Patient power sharing in health care provision

20 September, 2020

Masimo Serventi writes "Responsibility : patients become fully aware of their condition. They come to read the diagnose and check the behaviour of doctors. Health 'belongs' to the patient and not to the doctor. He/she is the prime responsible of his/her health, not the doctor. The PHB will accompany him/her for life, all medical history is written there."

We agree with this and as the world moves towards patient power sharing in health care provision it will need to educate and hold patients' hands. In the 1980's, Professor Steve Tomlinson, a diabetologist, felt that adolescents with "Brittle Diabetes" (diabetes difficult or impossible to control) were externally controlled patients who felt that "this diabetes is not my problem, doctor, it is yours. You sort it out." Whereas adolescent patients who had better controlled diabetes were "internally controlled" patients who thought that "I have a problem, that I need to manage myself with my doctor and nurse's help". We used to say in our patient centred medical practice that we educate patients aand families and delegate as much responsibility to patients and families as hey have the ability to accept whilst not abdicating our own responsibility. Shared records and booklets were part of this.

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data. Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT