The increasingly ubiquitous notion of ‘patient centredness’\ud often causes confusion; indeed instruction received\ud on this subject often left trainees with only the vaguest\ud notion of how it could be put into practice, sometimes\ud leading to bizarre interpretations of this idea. For\ud example, one colleague described how he, in an attempt\ud at ‘real’ patient centredness, had attempted a whole\ud surgery without saying anything at all for as long as\ud possible, presumably just nodding and gesticulating to\ud compensate. Although we readily agree that non-verbal\ud expression accounts for a considerable content of communication, this is perhaps taking things just too far.\ud Patient centredness remains a central plank of clinical\ud learning, teaching and assessment and nowadays is also central of policy development in the health service. But what do we mean by patient centredness? Is it really important? How important is it compared to other aspects of the consultation? Does it make a difference
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