Do You Have A Health Advocate?

The Value Of A Health Advocate

Hey there Guys, today I wanted to share an experience I have had today when I really needed a health advocate.

For a number of reasons the relationship I had with a local hospital broke down to a level that I honestly felt they were no longer able to offer me care in a way that was respectful or caring. A level of care that left me feeling so bad I felt the only way to get help was to place a formal complaint.

This experience was uncomfortable, depressing and after the process of writing a six page detailed letter I was left feeling very sad, dejected and depressed. It’s situations like this I can see the significant benefit of having a strong health advocate like a supportive GP or caring friend.

My good friend Christopher Banks has also written about this very topic when he had to fight for a friend who was about to kill himself just to be reviewed and cared for at his local hospital. Having a health advocate like Chris may have very well saved his life.

My state’s health body, Victoria Health has what is called a Charter Of Health Care Rights that affirms the belief that all Australian citizen have the right to caring and unencumbered health care. The charter includes:

  • Access: I have a right to health care.
  • Safety: I have a right to receive safe and high quality care.
  • Respect: I have a right to be shown respect, dignity and consideration.
  • Communication: I have a right to be informed about services, treatment, options and costs in a clear and open way.
  • Participation: I have a right to be included in decisions and choices about my care.
  • Privacy: I have a right to privacy and confidentiality of my personal information.
  • Comment: I have a right to comment on my care and to have my concerns addressed.

Sadly in my case I was being denied access, respect, communication and even participation in my own health care and I am a doctor. Imagine what it must be like for my patients who are also in need of important medical care but unable to negotiate the many dark hallways of the confusing medical system!

Every Patient Should Consider Having A Health Advocate

For this reason I am a huge believer for all people to have a good, competent GP. A good family doctor is worth their weight in gold and make an excellent health advocate. When the chips are down it’s these guys who will go in fighting on your behalf.

Finding a good GP can be hard, finding a great gay GP even harder. For your reference I highly recommend you check out this post I did on  how to find  a good GP.

If you feel you are not being cared for in a respectful manner, you are not being listened to or you wish to seek clarification or additional input into your care I highly recommend getting a health advocate. This can be a friend, a family member or even your own family doctor.

Being unwell sucks. Not being heard, cared for, or listened to is even worse. You don’t have to put up with this.

Do you have a friend who is able to advocate for your health? Have you ever felt you have needed one? I’d love to hear your experience. Please feel free to share below.

Yours in good health, respectful health and caring health.

Dr George

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