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Accounts of disagreements with doctors


  • Annandale, Ellen
  • Hunt, Kate


Patients' perceptions of health care, particularly as they relate to disagreements of various kinds, have emerged as a particular topic of interest to practitioners and social scientists since the mid-1980s in Great Britain. Most research, however, has concentrated upon disagreements that have turned into formal complaints to health authorities and community and hospital trusts. This means that the focus has been upon the strong end of disagreements where action has already been taken to redress a grievance. This is likely to leave many aspects of the relationship between felt disagreement and disagreement action unexplored. Why, for example, when they feel dissatisfied with the health care that they, or a relative has received, do some people take action and others not? And, if they do take action, what is involved? Are there any associations between the kind of action taken--for example, doing nothing, verbally challenging the doctor, seeking a second opinion, or discontinuing treatment--and the nature of the felt disagreement, the kind of health problem being treated, or the social characteristics of the patient concerned? In this paper we explore some of these questions through data collected as part of a community sample of individuals in the West of Scotland.

Suggested Citation

  • Annandale, Ellen & Hunt, Kate, 1998. "Accounts of disagreements with doctors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 119-129, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:1:p:119-129

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    Cited by:

    1. Dew, Kevin & Roorda, Mathea, 2001. "Institutional innovation and the handling of health complaints in New Zealand: an assessment," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 27-44, July.
    2. Greco, Cinzia, 2015. "The Poly Implant Proth├Ęse breast prostheses scandal: Embodied risk and social suffering," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 150-157.
    3. Magnus Lindelow, 2003. "Understanding spatial variation in the utilization of health services: does quality matter?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Brown, Patrick & Elston, Mary Ann & Gabe, Jonathan, 2015. "From patient deference towards negotiated and precarious informality: An Eliasian analysis of English general practitioners' understandings of changing patient relations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 164-172.
    5. Magnus Lindelow, 2004. "Understanding spatial variation in the utilization of health," Development and Comp Systems 0409058, EconWPA.


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