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Scroll down or click to read: 1️⃣ Are we Intimidated into obeying the opinions of Healthcare professionals? 2️⃣ What is intimidation? 3️⃣ Intimidation tactics examples 4️⃣ Intimidation and fight or flight 5️⃣ How to deal with intimidation?. 6️⃣ NHS Care standards Legislation 7️⃣ Audio Intimidation discussion

1️⃣ Are we Intimidated into obeying the opinions of Healthcare professionals?

We do not expect Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to force us into obeying their treatment plan or opinion. As they are the ‘experts’ in health treatment, it is common practice to respect their opinions and treatment options. Yet, it appears that they are so used to being obeyed that they respond to any ‘disobedient’ behaviour with disbelief and veiled threats of ‘withhholding’ health treatment or requested information.

2️⃣ What is intimidation?

It is generally thought to involve any behaviour where you feel that unless you agree with them, you will suffer some from of harm. Either mental or physical.

Not all intimidation tactics by healthcare professionals are conscious acts. But intimidation is generally used to scare you into submission.

2️⃣.1️⃣ Intimidation can be recognised by the:

▶️ use of implied threats of discharge.

▶️ or closure of your case.

If you do not agree with the person or organisation.

3️⃣ Intimidation tactics examples:

▶️ The waiting room is empty and you are still kept waiting and seen later than your appointment time without an explanation.

▶️ They respond to any of your concerns or unease with a line such as “Oh that’s so silly,”

▶️ They Bring a colleague or two into the room to ‘encourage’ you into supporting their position and or viewpoint.

▶️ They Deliberately Overwhelm you with the use of medical jargon and or Red Tape.

▶️ They Raise their voice/s during discussions. 

4️⃣ Intimidation and fight or flight

We are scoialised into beleiving that when we are at our most vunerbale, Doctors and Nurses will care for apus and keep us safe. So the internal monologue that starts up when you disagree with the fundamental belief that Healthcare providers have your best interests at heart. Is guaranteed to ramp up your stress levels to max.

intimidation funny red flag professional behaviour from the penof

If you add the tug if war created because of your opposing beliefs to the feeling of feeling unsafe in the presence of being intimidated.. It can trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. (As can any real or imagined threat.) In survival mode (AKA fight-flight mode) you process and act on information differently than you would in a non threatening environment. Not be able to understand the conversational content leads to miscommunication and often creates further conflict. 

4️⃣.1️⃣ As you will react in: 

▶️ ‘fight’ the ‘System’. 


▶️ choose to ‘flee’ this healthcare and possibly all health related environments.


▶️ Freeze, where you sit there in silent disbelief. Which to add salt to the wound, makes it appear as if you agree with the health proposed plan.

4️⃣.2️⃣ The stakes are high for you. As either decision can result in:

▶️ withholding of treatment from you and/or

▶️ a failure for the wrongs to be righted. Leaving you in emotional limbo and making closure and resolution almost impossible.

5️⃣ How to deal with intimidation?

As the use of the ‘intimidation’ in the healthcare settings is subtle and at odds with the belief system of society, it is so important to:

#️⃣ Start challenging the belief on social media platforms and service user forums that organisations and healthcare professionals:

▶️ Are gods and angels. They are not. They are professionals, doing a job they are paid to do. Best practice would be for both parties to view the whole process as one of active participation. Where neither party has power over the other one.

▶️ That respect and trust for professionals is not an automatic right but it is earned based on their behaviour, skills and knowledge.

▶️ That finding someone to blame does not stamp out bullying. It leads to bullying going ‘underground’ so it is harder for a third party to observe. Improving systems is the only way to improve health outcomes.

▶️ Fire the ‘it’s my way or the highway’ organisational culture and start to adopt the strategy that multiple points of view achieves the best possible outcome.

▶️ That anyone who challenges the dominant culture behaviour is unreasonable or acceptable. Questioning and making suggestions for improvement is not ‘ disrespectful’ behaviour. It is an essential part of improving safety and needs to be embraced as a vital learning experience.

6️⃣ To read about the Legislation that you are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and you are entitled to safe care and treatment.

7️⃣ Intimidation audio

A 4 min overview of Intimidation and the NHS Complaints process