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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tell it to me straight, doctor: why openness from health experts is vital

Robin Bisson
The Guardian
Originally published August 3, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

It is impossible to overstate the importance of public belief that the medical profession acts in the interests of patients. Any suggestions that public health experts are not being completely open looks at best paternalistic and at worst plays into the hands of those, such as the anti-vaccination lobby, who have warped views about the medical establishment.

So when it comes out that public health messages such as “complete the course” aren’t backed up by evidence, it adds colour to the picture of a paternalistic medical establishment and risks undermining public trust.

Simple public health messages – wear sunscreen, eat five portions of fruit and veg a day – undoubtedly have positive effects on everyone’s health. But people are also capable of understanding nuance and the shifting sands of new evidence. The best way to guarantee people keep trusting experts is for experts to put their trust in people.

The article is here.