Getting a second medical opinion in the UK and around the world is becoming increasingly common, as more people than ever have more information than ever at their fingertips. When you seek medical care, you may sometimes feel that the advice given to you or treatment provided, does not reflect your care needs. You may wish you seek a second medical opinion, aware of the potential for human error and the gaps in knowledge that may lie in an individual medical professional.
All patients are within their rights to do this in the UK, both within the NHS and private care provision across all treatments, from fertility treatment to cosmetic treatments.
The UK General Medical Council, which regulates doctors, states that all doctors must ‘respect the patient’s right to seek a second [medical] opinion.’
The British Dental Association (BDA) also allows for this, as does the General Medical Council. The NHS Department of Health and Social Care accepts that if someone thinks that it is in their or the best interest of a patient to be referred for a second opinion in the UK, they should seek a second medical opinion.
Why Might I Want a Second Medical Opinion?
If you feel that the quality of care, the diagnosis or the treatment, you have been provided does not reflect your or one of your loved one’s expectations, needs, condition, pain or illness, it is possible to seek care elsewhere, within the NHS or private healthcare sector in the UK or abroad.
This secondary medical diagnosis may disagree with the first opinion, helping you to access the correct treatment for your condition, or may agree with the first opinion, giving you the confidence you need to trust diagnosis and the peace of mind you require.
A second medical opinion can help improve your chances of receiving the best treatment you require.
It allows you to explore all possibilities from a more informed perspective and see more treatment options from more areas of expertise. If you have received treatment and symptoms remain, a second medical opinion allows you to check if there may have been misdiagnosis.
If diagnosis treatment is for cancer, or requires very specific and potentially dangerous treatment, a second opinion may allow you to ensure that you only take potentially unnecessary risk and explore other treatment options as necessary.
How Can I Get a Second Medical Opinion?
If you need to get a second opinion on the NHS, you may have to go back to your GP and request this.
This can involve getting a new referral and starting the diagnosis process again. This can also mean starting again on waiting lists and may involve travelling to new hospitals further away. Waiting for a second opinion may delay necessary treatment and so, be sure to check with your GP about the medical consequences of any delay.
This is especially important for cancer patients, where immediate intervention can prevent cancer spread, or for mental health disorders, where treatment and medication can prevent crisis.
Getting a Second Medical Opinion – What Could it Involve?
A second opinion may involve more comprehensive diagnostic testing. This on the one hand, may help you to explore other potential diagnoses and increase the confidence and conviction in a diagnosis, by exploring all potentialities.
However, it may also lead to unnecessary tests being undertaken. This can cause unnecessary exposure to X-ray, if related to a bone breakage or condition, or can cause unnecessary pain if bone marrow testing is involved. It can also, if undertaken privately, mean additional costs are acquired against you or your health insurer, increasing the medical premium.
Asking for a second opinion if you have been advised by a medical professional to have a potentially risky treatment, may be advised, as the treatment could cause potentially long term future effects. A second opinion may make you feel empowered and proactive in the outcome of your own health, as it is often too late once a procedure has been undertaken.
How Can GlobMed Help With Medical Second Opinions?
At GlobMed we are more than aware that you may not agree with the diagnosis from a medical professional, or feel that the treatment outcome reflects your symptoms or eases your pain sufficiently. We are a highly trained team of medical professionals, who listen closely to those in our care, and ensure that we help you get the medical treatment interventions, that both reflect your expectations and ease your pain.
We have experience both inside the NHS and private care provision, and we know how to help you get the treatment that you deserve. We work closely with thousands of medical teams across the UK and abroad, to help you get the peace of mind you need for your medical requirements. We know that no doctor, dentist or surgeon can know everything, and that when teams collate and share opinions, there is less scope for medical error. We help you get the confidence in diagnosis and treatment that you deserve.