Good to talk
We speak with Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s Jim Newman about the importance of the patient conversation.
“Mr Newman … told me about the total knee replacement – he carefully explained what would happen and even showed me the implant.” Anthony Malcolm
“Nick talks to you as if you’ve got a brain (and not all surgeons do that). He explained things really well. he was quite light hearted. I thought his manner was lovely.” Linda Bairstow
“Mr Duffy is a wonderful knee surgeon but he’s a very approachable guy as well… That makes a huge difference.” Jean Drake
“Jon’s aftercare, even now, long after the op, is fantastic.” Michelle Middleton
Over the past few months, we’ve been talking to lots of Yorkshire Knee Clinic patients about their experiences. You can read the resulting case studies here. Read them all, and you’ll find one common denominator in the patients’ comments – everyone found their knee surgeon to be approachable, friendly, informative without disappearing into ‘medical speak’, and human.
Ahead of a patient information evening at Spire Methley Park Hospital, we spoke with Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s Jim Newman about his and his colleagues’ approach to the patient conversation.
Everyone clearly prefers their surgeon to be approachable, but does it really matter?
“The conversations we have with patients are important. It should never be a case of ‘I know best and this is what you’re having’. Always, what we’re saying is ‘here are the options. Here’s what’s going to happen. These will be the benefits. These will be the risks.’ You give your considered opinion but in the end the choice is the patient’s.
“So I do think it matters that patients feel their surgeon is approachable, because we want them to ask questions and be honest with their opinions, and that’s less likely to happen if you feel uncomfortable.”
That’s an approach many patients seem quite (happily) surprised by.
“Possibly. It’s difficult to imagine what patient perceptions of you are going to be. I guess we just do our best to be as approachable as possible but to explain things as best we can. It’s very encouraging that patients feel they can talk to us.”
Is that approachability a conscious decision by the knee surgeons of Yorkshire Knee Clinic?
“I don’t think so. We’re all of the same ilk and that’s what brought us together. We’re just like that. It’s not something you affect or set out to engineer, and I think our patients would spot it a mile away if we did.”
How would you describe today’s relationship between patient and surgeon?
“It’s like a contract between us. Patients mustn’t feel pressured into any course of action. Nor should they ever go under the knife without being entirely sure about the reasons, risks and benefits. So this is a contract that says, ‘you get all the information I can give you, you make the decision, and I’ll work to ensure the best possible result’.
What’s the value in doing a knee surgery patient information evening like this?
“We know there are patients out there who are really suffering. Sometimes they struggle to see a surgeon or doctor. Perhaps they don’t feel that they can ‘bother’ their GP. They may not be aware of what treatment options are available and how much they could benefit from them.
“So these sessions are about awareness. They’re a chance to get your questions answered. And they’re a chance to get information outside of the regular appointment system which really works for people with very little time on their hands.
“This isn’t the only awareness session that takes place throughout the year, and I’d urge anyone interested in attending to keep an eye on local hospital information pages, and on Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s social media.”
If you would like to talk to Jim Newman about your knee pain, please contact us.