Culture and diversity

April 2010


Optimising the medical care of doctors

Part 3 – during the consultation

Volume 39, No.4, April 2010 Pages 247-248

Hilton Koppe

This is the third in a series of articles exploring issues involved in doctors treating other doctors. The first article looked at barriers to good medical care when the patient is a doctor. The second article discussed strategies that can be used before the consultation takes place. Particular emphasis was put on the value of the patient doctor contacting the treating doctor before the first consultation.

This article will focus on strategies that can be used by the treating doctor during the consultation to facilitate best possible communication. While these strategies could be applied in any consultation, an explanation of why they are particularly important when the patient is a doctor will be offered.

Medical consultations are complex situations. Consultations when the patient is a doctor can be even more complex. The following model of a medical consultation was initially developed for teaching general practice registrars to assist them in making the transition from hospital medicine to general practice. The principles of the model apply equally well to thinking about consultations when the patient is a doctor (Table 1).

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