There are two types of doctors – those who we’ll call Type A doctors, who (1,) who have ordinary email addresses readily available and who respond with helpful responses to reasonable general emails sent to them, AND who (2,) readily answer enquiries about how you and I go about getting copies of our/their health records or health information, and who readily supply these copies when they are requested to do so, and those, who we’ll call Type B doctors about whom neither of these things are true.
We have often stressed the importance of (1), but have come to realise that we may have underestimated the importance of (2.)
In the course of doctors advising and treating us, health records are and/or health information is created, and it is, of course, the law that we be provided with copies of these – see section 27 of the NSW Health Records & Information Privacy Act.
Such copies can be SO important to help us make sure that we have properly understood what a doctor has said and/or done to us, and to help us, in the event, that we have problems with what a doctor has said and/or done to us, particularly if we want to get other opinions on these things.
Of course, complying with the law on health records and information is a bother for the doctors, makes them more accountable and is an additional expense, and nobody in authority seems to care if they don’t do it, which no doubt contributes to the fact that there are so many Type B doctors.
(We could write a book about this. For instance, Primary Health Care Limited, when they take over a practice, seem to just destroy the health records of the doctors in the practice they’ve taken over -even those doctors can’t get access to them, they just have to start again with each of their patients.
And one of us have sent four emails in a row to Dr Saxon Smith, asking him, “If I was to become one of your patients, how would I get a copy of my/your health records?” none of which was even acknowledged, and Dr Saxon Smith is the President of the NSW branch of the AMA – not that this raised our hopes too much that he would be obeying the law.)
To us now, it’s this simple – other things being equal, you and I are mad if we consult and use Type B doctors when one or more Type A doctors are available. It’s in our hands – we have no one else to blame if we’ve chosen a Type B doctor and we have problems.
Any one who’s had any experience with NSW doctors will have realised that, to all intents and purposes, they are unregulated, that many of them are what we call, “waste of time and money” doctors at best and this is one of the few things we health care consumers can do about it is only consult and use Type A doctors.