Credible or incredible: experience is evidence

A senior Scottish figure once gave me advice that it is very important to be perceived as “credible”.

I was thinking about this advice recently when the convener of the Parliamentary Committee considering polypropylene Mesh implants concluded:

It is not surprising, therefore, that those who have experienced harm from healthcare may feel that they are not being listened to.

In the same week another example featured in a week long series of articles in the Herald: “A Bitter Pill”. On a background of ever increasing prescribing of antidepressants it appears that my profession is still struggling to accept the value of people’s experience (which may not always be positive) and can respond defensively:

One responder has already articulated my feeling about this:

My understanding is that this series in the Herald arose, at least partly, because of a petition to the Scottish Parliament which seeks consideration of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.

One of the explanations for the rising prescribing of antidepressants is that people are often taking them for many years. Another way of looking at this is that people are not stopping these drugs. It is still the case that we really do not understand why this may be and we are not going to understand this until we listen to the experience of those taking these medications.

Experience is evidence and I find it incredible that we do not listen carefully enough to it.

 

 

 

 

‘Progress depends on the unreasonable man’

Professor David Oliver is a doctor that I have huge respect for. His views, as expressed in the BMJ, and thus in short form, generally accord with mine [this is an observation and not a statement about the merit of our opinions].

As an NHS doctor who has ‘spoken up’ I read this ‘BMJ Acute Perspective’ by Professor Oliver with both interest and with gratitude.

I worry (perhaps I am not alone in this worry) if I might be considered as either “reasonable” or “unreasonable”? However I have a greater need, and that is to be true to who I am.

Truth generally rests between words like “reasonable” and “unreasonable”. This is  territory that needs freedom.