1 in 5 patients lie to GP

Kiwis are lying to their doctors about their unhealthy lifestyles, a Southern Cross survey has found.

The quiz of 2,200 New Zealanders has revealed that 22 per cent are misrepresenting the truth to both their GPs and their partners.

Among the 484 Kiwis guilty of telling porkies, men lie about their alcohol consumption and women about their level of physical activity.

Those surveyed say shame over their lifestyle habits is the reason for their deception.


Taradale Medical GP Dr Mark Peterson says doctors won’t be shocked by a patient’s admissions about their lifestyle and that the only way to get the timely advice and treatment you need is to put aside any embarrassment and be honest about your health.

“Our Code of Ethics means that anything you disclose to your doctor will remain confidential and will only be shared with other health professionals with your permission,” Dr Peterson says. “The truth usually comes out in the end.”

While you may think a slight untruth can’t hurt, giving inaccuracies can limit a doctor’s ability to give you the best health treatment and advice.

The worst things to lie about are how much you smoke and your personal and family’s medical history.

Head of clinical operations at Southern Cross Health Society Geoff Searle says your doctor is the one person you should not lie to.

“It could seriously hurt your chances of a long and healthy life,” he says.

So the next time you’re telling whoppers about never eating burgers and chips, remember your GP needs your honesty to support you in your health journey.

Learn more

Do you lie to your doctor? NZ Herald, Jan 2016