Consulting on the telephone requires a different skill-set, relying on common sense and improvisation. Learning how to do this effectively is necessary to safeguard patients and your professional position, says GP and popular author Dr Tony Males
Document telephone consultations contemporaneously.
Obtain and document a thorough history. Telephone consultations do not give a GP the opportunity to assess clinical signs.
Mr B, a 35-year-old businessman, consulted Mr L, a urologist, over the telephone requesting a vasectomy.
Mr P was a 17-year-old student who attended the Minor Injuries Unit at his local A&E department after a fight. He walked in and sat in the waiting area with a friend. The triage nurse offered him some analgesia but he refused it.
Three months after returning to the UK after a holiday in Gambia, Miss N, a 27-year-old care assistant, telephoned her GP practice for advice and spoke to Dr T. She told him that she was feeling generally unwell and slightly feverish and had noted that her urine was unusually dark.
Mrs B received a letter from the Child Health Department addressed to the Parents or Guardians of Jemima B. The letter said: “Jemima B born in … is due for her pre-school immunisation; please telephone your GP surgery and arrange an appointment with them.”
Mrs G, a 50-year-old baker, became unwell with what appeared to be flu. There was an outbreak of flu in the area at the time. Mrs G telephoned her GP surgery and spoke to a receptionist who told her to take bed rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol.
Mrs B had one child and had been trying for a few years for another. She recently had a positive pregnancy test and was now about seven weeks pregnant. She suffered an abrupt onset of lower-abdominal pain one evening and telephoned the out-of-hours on-call service used by her GP practice.
You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.
Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.
Take the tour Continue to site
Use the top navigation bar to access essential links from any page of the site.
Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.
Start your search by choosing your profession and/or area of interest through the two dropdowns.
Enter keywords to find specific resources. For exact terms, just use speech marks, e.g. "record keeping".
We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.
Narrow your search based on theme, field, format, article, type or location.
Based on the pages you visit, we'll also provide useful links under the 'More' tab.
Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.
Continue to site Take again