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Why do patients attend and what do they want from the consultation? 

Why do patients attend and what do they want from the consultation?
Chapter:
Why do patients attend and what do they want from the consultation?
Author(s):

Des Spence

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0004
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date: 07 March 2021

Contrary to traditional thinking and teaching, it is not illness that dictates the health-seeking behaviour of a population but the healthcare system itself, and—most importantly—our actions as healthcare professionals. A scourge affecting clinical practice in the developed world today is the medicalization of all interactions, accompanied by overinvestigation, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment. The medical profession retains its traditional duty, wherever possible, to diagnose disease and treat or cure illness appropriately, also to comfort the sick, irrespective of the ability to cure. At the same time, a long-held principle of medicine at all levels is to do no harm, while at the same time supporting the maintenance of health and protecting those who are well. This chapter explains how maintaining the balance between these apparent conflicting precepts is a scarce skill that needs to be taught by example during the education and training of the modern doctor.

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