When is a “Second Opinion” helpful?

A “Second Opinion” was a way to get another set of eyes to review a problem so that the original treating doctor would have  an extra guide in management. Today it is  relatively unusual for a patient to return to the original treating doctor after seeing another for a “Second Opinion”. It is often seen as a mechanism to leave the care of your current treating specialist.


If you are unhappy with the specialist you are dealing with, either because of his/her manner, facilities, costs or staff, you are entitled to seek a second opinion. All your medical history and test data should be made available to the new specialist at your request. This is usually done by copying all relevant correspondence and test results, for which you may have to pay a small charge.


It is a difficult decision, the specialist you are seeing may be as good as the next one you will see.  If there is a major issue, such as whether or not to have a hip replacement and who should do it, it usually worth having a further consultation with your GP. Sharing your concerns with him/her is valuable for all concerned. It will also make the transfer to a new specialist easier.


There is no easy answer, but if you are not confident with your specialist, it is worth considering a Second Opinion.