Saturday 16 February 2019

'Smiley' GPs are better for the health of their patients

It seems Irish patients like their doctor to be 'smiley, open, nice, approachable and interested'. Stock Image
It seems Irish patients like their doctor to be 'smiley, open, nice, approachable and interested'. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

What is the hallmark of a good GP?

It seems Irish patients like their doctor to be "smiley, open, nice, approachable and interested".

In fact, a good personality on the part of the GP plays a role not only in rapport and communication, but may also have a therapeutic dimension, according to a new study.

The research led by Dr John Brennan, of the HSE Dublin and Mid-Leinster general practice training programme, asked patients what really matters to them when they go to see a GP. Positive traits included a doctor who is "open, smiley, nice, approachable, trustable and interested".

It found that the "personable" factor is likely to foster a doctor-patient relationship that enables a greater possibility of self-support and care, the 'Irish Medical Journal' reported.

"Interestingly, none of the participants in this study overtly attached importance to correct diagnosis and effective treatment of illness, although this may have been inherent in how some participants referred to the work of the GP or service.

"However, this study demonstrates members of the Irish public prioritise elements of person-centred care.

"This study suggests that timely access to a familiar, personable GP is paramount to the Irish public," the research said.

Irish Independent

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