Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Taking Stock

Rammya Mathew: Where are we letting our patients down?

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 20 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3980
  1. Rammya Mathew, GP
  1. London
  1. rammya.mathew{at}
    Follow Rammya on Twitter: @RammyaMathew

A recent consultation has stayed with me. In many respects it was a run of the mill general practice consultation, but it made me reflect on health inequalities and why the care we provide for people with low levels of health literacy can be woefully lacking.

He was a patient with type 2 diabetes taking long term insulin, who had developed acute symptoms in the previous 24 hours. He had broken English, but he was able to communicate his history without too much difficulty, so I persevered without an interpreter. In response to some very direct questioning, it became apparent that he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink that morning, he …

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