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The Clinical Competencies for the CCE


1. Communication and consultation skills

Last revised: 19 Mar 2024

CS1.1 General practitioners communicate effectively and appropriately to provide quality care.
CS1.2 Through effective health education, general practitioners promote health and wellbeing to empower patients.
CS2.1 General practitioners provide the primary contact for holistic and patient-centred care.

This competency focuses on communication with patients, and the use of appropriate general practice consultation techniques. Communication skills enable the consultation to proceed, and the demonstration of specific communication skills, especially in difficult consultations, is a core skill in general practice. Communication and consultation are patient-centred, and the trainee engages the patient to understand their ideas, concerns and expectations. The development of respectful therapeutic relationships involves empathy and sensitivity, with the trainee trying to see things from the perspective of the patient. Explanations provided to the patient about the diagnosis or management are appropriate to the patient, their health literacy and their health beliefs. The trainee checks for understanding and agreement at various times during the consultation.


Communication Consultation skills
  1. Communication is appropriate to the person and the sociocultural context
  2. Engages the patient to gather information about their symptoms, ideas, concerns, expectations of healthcare and the full impact of their illness experience on their lives
  3. Matches modality of communication to patient needs, health literacy and context
  4. Communicates effectively in routine and difficult situations
  5. Demonstrates active listening skills
  6. Uses a variety of communication techniques and materials (eg written or electronic) to adapt explanations to the needs of the patient
  7. Uses appropriate strategies to motivate and assist patients in maintaining health behaviours
  1. Adapts the consultation to facilitate optimal patient care
  2. Consults effectively in a focused manner within the time frame of a normal consultation
  3. Prioritises problems, attending to both the patient’s and the doctor’s agendas
  4. Safety-netting and specific follow-up arrangements are made

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health context

  1. Uses a range of methods to facilitate culturally safe communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  2. Integrates cultural perspectives on, and beliefs about, the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into holistic clinical practice
  3. Appraises and addresses barriers to the development of effective therapeutic relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Rural health context

  1. Develops, maintains and reviews effective communication strategies for communicating with patients and other health professionals who are located remotely
  2. Adapts communication to accommodate situations common in rural and remote areas, and maintains effective communication infrastructure relevant to the practice setting
  3. Identifies appropriate modes of communication in the practice and the community

For the trainee

This domain focuses on your communication with patients, their families and others involved in their care. You will need to demonstrate patient-centred communication skills and be able to deal with difficult situations such as the breaking of bad news.

Your active listening skills, your ability to use open questions, your ability to avoid unnecessary interruptions and your use of non-verbal skills in exploring and clarifying the patient’s symptoms are all assessed.

You need to respond appropriately to important or significant cues from the patient, as these enable a deeper understanding of the patient’s problem.

In addition, you will be observed exploring the patient’s problem through consideration of the relevant psychological, social and occupational aspects of the problem. It is a requirement that you demonstrate a patient-centred focus by exploring the patient’s health understanding and being curious to find out what the patient really thinks, is concerned about or expects.

There must be evidence of an explanation of the patient’s problem and this needs to be in appropriate patient-centred language, taking into consideration the patient’s health literacy and health beliefs. This will usually involve a reference to patient-held ideas during the explanation of the problem and its diagnosis. Specifically seeking to confirm the patient’s understanding of the diagnosis and any proposed management plan is another important component of your communication skills.

Your consultation skills (including how you adapt the consultation to the patient’s needs), your time management, and the general structure of the consultation are also assessed.

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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