Dealing with trivial patient requests over the festive period

3rd December 2016 by Rachel Birch

Dealing with trivial patient requests over the festive period

Medical Protection Medicolegal Adviser Dr Marika Davies explains how to maintain professionalism when dealing with trivial requests from patients.

Board games are popular during the festive period but dealing with patients who present with concerns of a minor nature is no trivial pursuit. GPs are likely to be busy in the run up to Christmas, and on a busy day, it is understandable that they may feel frustrated when a patient presents with a seemingly trivial matter.

Last year, concerns about inappropriate use of primary care resources were raised by Resilient GP, an online support group for doctors in general practice. Nearly 200 examples of requests that GPs thought were an inappropriate use of their time and skills were published online, including:

  • “My child smells like yeast….”
  • “I have had a mouth ulcer for 2 days”
  • “I have had a runny nose for the last half hour”
  • “I have a scratch on my arm”
  • “My baby’s snot is too green”.

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