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At the heart of general practice since 1960

10 tips to avoid a consultation going wrong

1 Make sure you have the right notes and the right patient

1 Make sure you have the right notes and the right patient

2 Don't feel so rushed that you jump to conclusions too quickly

3 Don't talk too soon – the key for doctors is to be quiet and listen

4 Don't use closed questions – you will get much further if your questions are open

5 Try to avoid exhaustion, burn-out, and stress

6 Give yourself time after a difficult or traumatic consultation – sometimes when you get behind and feel stressed you need to slow down, not speed up

7 Don't act aggressively when the patient seems aggressive

8 Don't always feel you have to have an answer9 Remember that patients are often frightened

10 If you really don't know what the consultation is about, you haven't understood all of the patient's ideas, concerns or expectations

Professor David Haslam is a PMETB board member and former RCGP chair

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