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Practice Matters Issue 6: June 2014

For people with sight loss, visiting a GP surgery can be a difficult experience. Patients hear their name being called but then quite often don’t know which consulting room the doctor has disappeared back into.

In this issue of Practice Matters, Victoria Armitage from the Royal National Institute of Blind People, tells us her experience of general practice as someone with visual loss, and shares some tips for healthcare professionals to help make services more accessible for people with visual loss. A few simple changes in practice could make a world of difference, as well as helping to ensure you are complying with equality legislation.

Patients may not always consider that air travel is risky, and it is important that GPs act in their patients’ best interests and only make statements that are truthful and honest

As summer approaches GPs will experience increasing requests for declarations that patients are “fit to fly”. Patients may have special reasons for wanting to travel and GPs may feel pressured to complete forms and declarations of fit to fly. Patients may not always consider that air travel is risky, and it is important that GPs act in their patients’ best interests and only make statements that are truthful and honest. In the cover article, Dr Rachel Birch presents three case scenarios advising what you can do to support patients while minimising your risks.

A common question on the MPS helpline is “how do I deal with a father’s requests to access his child’s medical records?” In the "From the case files" section we provide some FAQs and an algorithm giving a structured approach for dealing with this scenario.

Another dilemma we receive queries about is whether practice staff can be registered as a patient at their practice. This can be a tricky situation as you obviously want to maintain a good working relationship with the member of staff, but, as the GMC states: “Wherever possible, you should avoid providing medical care to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.” Read our medicolegal advice on this dilemma.

Dr Richard Stacey
Editor-in-chief and MPS medicolegal adviser

Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of publishing (June 2014)
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