Do you trust your doctor? How to figure out if a physician is trustworthy

Trust is a key element in building a solid doctor-patient relationship. That’s quite understandable, given that people put their health and well-being in the hands of these professionals. This enables doctors and patients to work together as partners in order to achieve better health outcomes.

Recent studies have also revealed that doctors are considered the world’s most trustworthy profession. According to the 2022 Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Index, doctors and scientists enjoy high levels of trustworthiness all across the globe. People trust them to use their skills and experience to make the right decisions and always act in the best interests of their patients.

Do you trust your doctor? How to figure out if a physician is trustworthy

Many assume physicians are inherently trustworthy and reliable due to their education and expertise. However, reality teaches us that’s not always the case. While all doctors have a duty of care towards their patients, and most of them have the ability and motivation to provide the care and treatment that their patients require, there are some who fail to live up to these moral and competence standards. Sometimes, a doctor’s inability to act in accordance with adequate standards of care can lead to serious health issues for the patient. In these instances, patients are entitled to make a claim for medical negligence – you can read more about the process at

Given that a doctor’s qualifications, skills and approach to healthcare can make the difference between good and bad health outcomes or even between life and death, one can never be too careful when choosing a medical professional.

Historically, the balance of power has always tilted in doctors’ favour. They’re the ones who held all the knowledge acquired in years of medical training, so their decisions weren’t to be questioned. Fortunately, patients today as not as vulnerable as they were in the past. Things have changed in recent years as technological advancements have made it easier for people to gain access to healthcare information and get more actively involved in their health journey.

So, if you want to evaluate a doctor’s trustworthiness, there are various ways to make an accurate assessment.

Check the medical register

Credentials represent the first and most important aspect to consider when researching a doctor. You need to make sure they have undergone proper training and are licensed in the area of medicine they’re practising.

It’s easy to get hold of such information by accessing the medical register provided by the General Medical Council (GMC). Here you’re going to find a list of all the doctors who practise medicine in the UK, with details about their training, registration status, and more. If the doctor you’re inquiring about doesn’t appear in the medical register, this should raise some questions about their legitimacy, so you should investigate the matter further.

Read online reviews

Official registries are not the only places where you can find accurate and up-to-date information about medical practitioners. There are numerous online resources that can provide you with the info you require. Doctor-rating websites can be extremely helpful in this respect. This is where former people share their own experiences and opinions of the doctors they’ve worked with, so it’s a very quick and convenient way to learn more details about different healthcare professionals.

However, you shouldn’t base your decisions solely on a few online reviews written by strangers. Keep in mind that different people have different needs, standards and beliefs, and there’s no guarantee they are completely honest when providing feedback. That’s why you need to take everything you read with a grain of salt and continue your research.

Talk to the medical staff

Doctors are the ones who make all the health-related calls and determine the line of treatment, but they’re not the only ones that will influence your health journey. Nurses and other office staff who oversee day-to-day operations and ensure the proper functioning of the practice also play an important role in the equation, so you need to take the entire environment into consideration.

Talking to the nurses and the support staff and observing the office dynamics will give your more clues on what to expect from the practice. Besides, office workers know doctors better than everyone else, so their input can prove extremely valuable.

Do a face-to-face interview

Doing online research and finding information from third parties can be very helpful, but you can learn a lot more by talking with the person who’s going to be in charge of your healthcare and asking direct questions. If you’re on the lookout for a new doctor, face-to-face interviews represent an important step in the process.

This is your chance to fill in the gaps and find more relevant details about the doctor and their practice. Use the time you spend with each healthcare provider wisely and ask the right questions so you can figure out if they are a good fit for you or not. It’s a good idea to write down your questions and all the topics you want to address on a piece of paper to make sure you don’t leave anything important out.

Watch out for red flags

There are good and bad professionals in every field, and healthcare makes no exception. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be rather difficult, but you can spot a bad doctor early on if you keep an eye out for common red flags. Finding out that a practitioner has numerous malpractice claims against them is definitely a sign of concern. Keep in mind, though, that litigations are commonplace nowadays, and many doctors have been involved in lawsuits. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are not reliable, so you should find out more details about these lawsuits before drawing your conclusion.

You should also be cautious of doctors who advertise too much despite being in the field for a long time. If they provided high-quality services, they wouldn’t need extensive advertising to promote their practice.

Finding a trustworthy doctor may be challenging at times, but there are many practitioners out there who can help you achieve your healthcare goals. So, take your time, do your research and choose carefully.

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