By the Way ... Give Patients Control over Their Medical Notes

Daily Mail (London), February 14, 2017 | Go to article overview

By the Way ... Give Patients Control over Their Medical Notes


UNTIL fairly recently, one of the great strengths of general practice in this country was continuity of care.

When a patient sees the same GP time and again, even though consultations are brief, it means that the doctor will already know many important aspects of their history without having to gaze at a screen to pick up details from earlier records.

It also helps build the trust and comfort that is crucial for discussing certain aspects of health.

But few GPs, especially older ones, are in any doubt that this star is waning. To understand why we must look at recent history.

In 1980, it became compulsory for would-be GPs to do a programme of postgraduate training previously, any qualified doctor could apply for a job in general practice and eventually become a partner without any other formal training or exams.

These postgraduate programmes involved two years working in a hospital, rotating through various specialities, followed by a year in a practice under the supervision of a designated GP trainer.

This year in a GP practice concentrated on aspects of care unique to GP work. It was not about how to diagnose pneumonia or treat anaemia (they would have learned such things as medical students and junior doctors).

The focus instead was on psychological aspects of patient care, dealing with emotions and social issues, learning to assess and manage priorities and, crucially, building wise, caring and supportive relationships with their patients. …

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