My wife needed a laptop for just emails and word processing. Something simple, no frills.

I found an inexpensive laptop at Currys that seemed to fit the bill. However, I also noted some other models which were only slightly more expensive but were significantly more future-proof as they had a better processor.

Uncertain, I asked for some assistance from the Laptop sales expert.

‘Is this the best value laptop you have?’ I asked, pointing to the model that initially caught my eye.

He replied, ‘Yes sir, if you are looking for value, then this is the best value laptop we have.’

‘But this model here is only £40 more and has a better processor, right? Wouldn’t you recommend this instead?’ I wondered.

‘Absolutely, I would recommend this one, it makes more sense….but you said you are looking for the best value, in which case I would stick to the first one.’

This is when I realised that we had completely different definitions of the term value.

He understands value as ‘what is the lowest number, the cheapest price’.

To me, value is best bang for the buck. I did not mind paying a little more money if it meant getting an extra year out of the laptop, or a significantly better user experience.

This reminded me of patients that seek our care. Some may have the same definition of value as the young man that served me at Currys.

All patients will want good value, and our goal is always to provide longevity of the work we place in their mouths.

It is our duty to educate our patients about treatment benefits and features, with a cost:benefit analysis. Some patients will still want the cheapest, and that’s fine, so long as there is informed consent.

The GDC’s guidance states that we should make a recommendation:

“Standard 3.1.3 You should find out what your patients want to know as well as what you think they need to know. Things that patients might want to know include:

• your recommended option…”

It should be our duty to offer bespoke solutions for patients, with their best interest in mind, and to always try and recommend treatment plans that offer good value and meet their goals.

Further reading