High patient socioeconomic deprivation does not inhibit communication of concerns in head and neck cancer review clinics

Sarah Allen, Rebecca Harris, Stephen Brown, Gerry Humphris, Yuefang Zhou, Simon Rogers

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    To examine associations between SES and the extent to which head and neck cancer patients expressed concerns to surgeons during routine follow-up clinics. Methods: 110 head and neck review consultations with one consultant were audiorecorded and analysed using the Verona Coding Definitions of Emotional Sequences (VRCoDES) to measure doctor-patient communication. English Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2015 scores were grouped into deciles so that the VRCoDES could be compared by patient SES. Results: There were no significant correlations between IMD decile and the number and type of cues and concerns or the type of healthcare provider responses. There was a positive correlation between IMD decile and appointment length, r = .288, p <.01. When appointment length was controlled for, there was a negative correlation between IMD decile and number of cues and concerns, r = -.221, p < .05. Conclusion: These findings question the assumption that SES is associated with patients' willingness to express their concerns during consultations. Shorter consultations suggest that less time is invested in either providing elaborate answers to patients' concerns or with rapport building. Strategies which facilitate rapport building with low SES patients may prove useful for clinicians to adopt.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)536-539
    JournalBritish Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
    Issue number6
    Early online date13 Jun 2018
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2018



    • Doctor-patient Communication
    • Head and Neck Cancer
    • Deprivation
    • VRCoDES
    • Indices of Multiple Deprivation

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