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Patient choice: a study of real decision-making in the NHS, with Dr Merran Toerien

June 6, 2023 @ 7:30 pm


Tues 6 June 2023

Patient choice: a study of real decision-making in the NHS, with Dr Merran Toerien

Merran Toerien

For over two decades NHS policy has emphasised the need for doctors to increase patient choice. But there’s been remarkably little research on how that might work in practice. While it sounds simple, enacting patient choice raises some very significant practical, ethical, and interactional challenges. A team of researchers and practising doctors have taken a relatively unusual approach to investigate video recordings of real consultations to study precisely how decisions are made in the nuanced to-and-fro of conversations between doctors, patients, and any accompanying family members/friends.

This talk will illustrate the complexity of the apparently simple policy directive to ‘offer more choice’ and the researcher’s approach to training medical students and clinicians on the basis of their findings. There will be time to debate and discuss some of the thorny issues around what treatment decision-making should look like in practice.

About our speaker:

Merran Toerien is a Reader in Sociology and the Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Language & Communication, at the University of York. Her research has focused on interaction in a range of institutional settings, including beauty salons, recruitment to medical trials, UK jobcentres and NHS neurology clinics.

She is active in medical education and training researchers in the methods of conversation analysis (CA), around the UK and internationally (including in Brazil, China, the Netherlands, and South Africa). She has been described as looking like ‘a child in a sweet shop’ when talking about accessing data for doing CA.

She blames her civil partner – an e-learning specialist – for the surprise discovery that she enjoys translating her research into the bite-size chunks needed for an online training package (ask her about this!)

7.30pm in the Denham Room of the Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York.


June 6, 2023
7:30 pm


York Humanists


Denham Room of the Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York.
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