Vets are better than their human counterparts when it comes to communicating treatment options to clients, it has been claimed.

client convo
SPVS honorary president Stephanie Writer-Davies said she believed vets already had effective and informative conversations with clients. Image: foto ARts / Fotolia.

SPVS honorary president Stephanie Writer-Davies made the comment following the launch of a human health campaign aimed at improving conversations between patients and doctors.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges launched the Choosing Wisely campaign on 24 October. It said informed discussions with doctors, which take into account what is important to the patient, could help both parties make better decisions regarding care and could help prevent the need for tests, treatments or procedures unlikely to be of benefit.

Patient questions

The campaign also encourages patients to ask five questions when seeking treatment:

Stephanie Writer-Davies
Stephanie Writer-Davies.
  • do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
  • what are the risks or downsides?
  • what are the possible side effects?
  • are there simpler, safer options?
  • what will happen if I do nothing?

While Mrs Writer-Davies said the campaign was positive for the medical profession, she believed vets already had effective and informative conversations with clients.

She said: “I think we should pat ourselves on the back; I’m sure the majority of us already answer these questions before they’re even asked, because of the interaction with clients that’s expected in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.

“Whenever I discuss treatments with clients, I make a point of going through the options – basically answering those five questions for them – and I think the majority of my colleagues do that, too, which is something very positive about the profession.”

Profession ‘more prepared’

However, she actively encouraged clients to go to consultations armed with any questions they may have for the vet and be ready to ask them.

She added: “I believe the veterinary profession is much more prepared to have open discussions with clients than perhaps the medical profession has tended to be, but I think the [latter] is changing.”

  • Read the full story in the 7 November issue of Veterinary Times.
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