Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Provocations

Bring outpatients into the 21st century

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 06 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2472
  1. Tessa Richards, senior editor/patient partnership
  1. The BMJ
  1. trichards{at}

And give patients a say in the design of new services

I owe my life to the NHS, so it seems churlish to criticise it. But when it comes to outpatient clinics I can’t restrain myself. In a digital age that provides a range of options for consultation other than face to face in hospital clinics there is surely little justification to perpetuate an inflexible old model.

Living with long term conditions, and being a carer of close family members with their fair share, has given me plenty of time to observe how little things have changed since I did outpatient clinics over 35 years ago. Back then, to my shame, I was barely aware of the toll on patient and carers, the expense and logistical hurdles they faced, let alone the stress.1 Now with the boot on the other foot I seethe with impatience about a system …

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