Brits urged to break the British reserve and ask for a second medical opinion

Brits urged to break the British reserve and ask for a second medical opinion

Britons are more likely to seek a second opinion on financial advice (36%) than on their own health.

As well as this, only 30% of people questioned in a new nationwide survey saying they would seek a second medical opinion about their diagnosis or treatment.  A fifth of those asked (21%) said that concern about offending or angering their doctor would stop them from asking for a second medical opinion.

The survey suggested that a little over half (52%) of Britons are aware that they are entitled to ask a GP or health professional (such as a consultant) for a second opinion about their diagnosis or treatment. The reality is that NHS and private patients can ask for a second opinion on a recent examination, blood test or scan and get access to their medical records.

There have been a number of high profile cases of medical misdiagnosis including Kylie Minogue who publicly acknowledged that her initial diagnosis was wrong, and more recently Tom Hank’s wife Rita Wilson who had a double mastectomy only after seeking a second opinion.  15% of breast cancer cases are only diagnosed following a second opinion.

When asked to give reasons for seeking a second medical opinion, a third of people surveyed (33%) cited “concern that something has been missed on a scan” and one in five (20%) referred to concern that they are on the wrong medication for their condition.  Being uncertain of the original diagnosis and seeking peace of mind (both 46%) are the most important reasons to seek a second medical opinion for the British public, closely followed by seeking additional advice on treatment options (43%).

No wonder then, that three quarters (74%) surveyed say that having access to an online portal where they could seek a second medical opinion would be useful.  A separate recent study revealed that second medical opinion can reduce the risk of misdiagnosis by up to 90%.

The survey did highlight that Britons actively seek medical information online with two in five (41%) people saying they go online before visiting the GP to research their symptoms, and 40% saying they would do so after a visit to the doctor to look up a diagnosis, treatment or condition.

So how do you go about seeking a second opinion? Watch our video for practical advice on how to get a second opinion whether you are an NHS, or Private patient.