Doc­tor’s orders

CATHER­INE SCAHILL

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Letters -

Your fea­ture ‘What Doc­tors Don’t Tell Us’ (July) sug­gests that I and my fel­low doc­tors are mis­in­formed. Every­thing you said has some truth in it, but let’s just look at the first point. You sug­gest that doc­tors are ig­no­rant of the risks of ben­zo­di­azepines be­cause they are still pre­scribed. Yes, they can be ad­dic­tive if not used care­fully and, yes, they are still pre­scribed. But writ­ing this I am re­minded of the pa­tients that I have seen after the most har­row­ing events have hap­pened to them. These tablets, used care­fully and in the short term, can be cru­cially help­ful for peo­ple cop­ing with trav­esty. Last year a poll in the UK found that 87% of peo­ple trusted a fam­ily doc­tor to tell the truth, higher than for any other pro­fes­sion. De­spite this I spend in­creas­ing amounts of time deal­ing with pa­tients who have been mis­in­formed by the me­dia. Teenagers are al­ready a group who we have tried to fo­cus on and im­prove ac­cess for in the last few years as self-harm­ing and eat­ing dis­or­ders in this age group in­creases. With 25% of GPS think­ing of re­tir­ing in the next five years, in­creased ex­pec­ta­tion and re­duced re­sources, we could all do with more sup­port.

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