Time to recognise the healing power of the doctor-patient relationship

The growing evidence around the therapeutic value of the GP consultation needs to be recognised by managers, politicians, and other healthcare professionals, according to a leading GP academic.

Professor Frede Olesen
Professor Frede Olesen

Professor Frede Olesen, of Aarhus University in Denmark, told the RCGP annual conference in Glasgow that it was time for a renaissance in personal doctoring: ‘This is part of the real value of general practice in modern times.’

He said research on brain scans suggested that the meeting of a patient with their trusted doctor could affect the way that a patient responded to illness, outside of specific treatments.

Professor Olesen said the question for GPs was how they could influence that filter in the brain which governed the patient’s response.

The GP relationship is a 'strong drug'

‘This is not only lip service or the art of medicine, this is hardcore medicine about processes in the brain. The doctor-patient relationship is in itself a strong drug.'

He said many modern drugs were reinventions of ancient ways of influencing the brain, and human beings were also highly influenced by rituals.

‘It is time to create a renaissance for the personal doctor in clinical practice - how it works and how we can refine and develop it over time.’

Professor Olesen said the value of the personal doctor also needed to be recognised by the wider medical community, as well as administrators and politicians.

Society must recognise value of personal doctor

‘Society at large and decision makers should not forget this value. Sometimes they rely too much on technology and forget the value of the meeting between doctor and patient.

‘Universities really must reinvent the research and teaching in the value of the trusted context and the personal doctor. And if we do that we will not hear the stories about medical schools talking negatively about general practice.’

Professor Olesen said GPs should also remember to allow time when planning their daily schedules, appointments and home visits, for building relationships with patients.

He gave his definition of a good doctor as one who listens, asks questions, talks and investigates, and sometimes follows up with different laboratory and technical investigations.

Register your interest now in the 2016 RCGP annual conference in Harrogate and only pay the current 2015 delegate rate




Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

Rocketing workloads created by huge backlogs of cases and continuing COVID-19 disruption...

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

The GP workforce grew by 0.4% in the year to March 2021, but the number of GP partners...

Viewpoint: Patients and GPs are unhappy with access to general practice, what's the solution?

Viewpoint: Patients and GPs are unhappy with access to general practice, what's the solution?

Practices are deluged with work, yet many people still think they are ‘closed’. The...

Start date for COVID-19 booster campaign unclear, vaccines minister admits

Start date for COVID-19 booster campaign unclear, vaccines minister admits

A UK COVID-19 booster campaign could start from September - but could also remain...

BMA demands 'systemic change' after LMC report exposes racism in primary care

BMA demands 'systemic change' after LMC report exposes racism in primary care

Most black, Asian and minority ethnic primary care staff have experienced racism...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...