I’m sure I’m not alone in being challenged by this fascinating article in the Lancet on what we can learn from the Victorians. We like to think that we do public engagement far better than our predecessors, so it’s something of a surprise to discover that medical journals like the Lancet were far more likely to be read by patients in the 19th Century than they are now. As well as being invited to submit articles to these publications, there were a raft of magazines that explained the latest in medical thinking and debate specifically aimed at the general public.

It made me realise just how big a divide there is between the ‘experts’ and the patients. I wouldn’t know where to start to find the latest developments on my medical condition; and even if I found an article I’m not sure I would be able to understand it.

Does this lack of availability of publicly-accessible information on medical developments cause patients to seek answers elsewhere or simply remain uninformed and opt-out of participating in decisions around their healthcare?

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