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Opinion Talking Point

John Launer: Why we should all #sayhellotopatients

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q725 (Published 27 March 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q725

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Re: John Launer: Why we should all #sayhellotopatients

Dear Editor
Dr Launer's article sends a very important and timely message to all Health care professional .It definitely pays to be friendly ,smile and acknowledge patients in health care settings and people whenever and wherever we interact with them.It makes patients feel like 'a human being ' and worthy of recognition . This is more important in unfamiliar health care settings ( ie hospitals ) where patients are often anxious,apprehensive and even frightened .In such circumstances a kind smiling face ,a friendly greeting ,is very reassuring and comforting .
I am a retired GP who returned to work part time at the start of the Pandemic. I work one day a week at my 'beloved' practice where I have worked for nearly thirty wonderful years. Every Tuesday as I walk into work I have to walk past the packed waiting room ,to get to my consulting room. Most of the patients in the waiting room ( waiting to see different health care professionals ) have been my patients for many years .I pause in front of the seated patients ,smile and greet them as my friends .They all in return greet me and we have a general conversation filled with laughter . On every occasion I tell my patients /my friends that ,Tuesdays are not really 'working' days for me ,they are days when I enjoy the opportunity of reconnecting with my patients ( my friends ) and saying 'Hello ' and inquiring about them and their families .
I believe that I am blessed to have had an amazing relationship with my patients and still continue to enjoy the privilege of serving them .
My message to my younger colleagues , especially GP's is to consider every patient that you interact with as a 'human being ' and not a number on your appointment list of the day. I urge you to bring kindness,empathy ,compassion and humanity back into your consulting rooms .Our patients deserve to be listened to and treated with kindness,empathy ,compassion and above all,humanity..

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 March 2024
Parameswara Venugopal Prasad
GP
GP , North Wales