What equipment should GPs carry in their doctor’s bag?

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a working environment that enables their employees to work safely and to the best of their ability. Which should mean that they provide all the equipment you need, in working order.

The real world isn’t like that. It can be very hard to unearth the piece of equipment, and, when you find it, it may be broken or out of date. And even if it is working, it may be a model you aren’t familiar with. And nothing wastes time and reduces a patient’s confidence in you more than watching you hunt through drawers or fiddling with a device that you clearly don’t know how to use.

The solution is to take your own equipment. Then you you know where it is and you know it is working order (don’t you?).

But equipment can be expensive, and there is a limit to what you can carry, especially if you are on a bike. So here is a list of items contributed by locums. The nearer the top, the more people carry the item. Have a look and consider what, in your circumstances, you would not want to be without.

And if you have pet pieces of equipment you wouldn’t be without, let NASGP know and we will add them to the list.

  • stethoscope
  • sphygmomanometer (serviced regularly)
  • diagnostic set (with spare batteries)
  • patella hammer
  • tuning fork
  • thermometer
  • tongue depressors
  • peak flow meter plus mouthpieces
  • tape measure
  • obstetric wheel
  • gloves
  • lubricating jelly
  • pulse oximeter
  • dip sticks (in date)
  • glucometer (plus in-date test strips)
  • BNF (paper or electronic version)
  • favourite reference books (paper or electronic version)
  • pregnancy tests
  • vaginal speculum
  • Pinard stethoscope
  • adrenaline and means of administering it

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