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Patients prepared to wait for a GP who listens

 

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Patients prepared to wait for a GP who listens

Patients who are experiencing symptoms that could be due to cancer are willing to wait an extra three and a half weeks for an appointment with a doctor with good listening skills, and an extra week for an appointment with a GP of their choice.

In this study, Whitaker and colleagues conducted a series of experiments in which they presented over 600 participants with symptoms that could indicate differing levels of cancer risk. They found that participants expressed preferences for doctors with better listening skills, their ability to see a GP of their choice, and shorter waiting times. These results suggest that improving communication in consultations might encourage people to seek help in the longer term.