Tackling common problems for new GPs
6 March 2015, Pulse
Risks of taking over another partner’s list
I’ve just joined a practice and taken over the personal patient list of a retired partner. I need to update the prescriptions to current guideline standards, but what are the medicolegal risks? How can I avoid complaints?
Dr Laura Edwards:
I would suggest that in your first few consultations with new patients you need to work on introducing yourself and developing that bond of trust.
Deal with their agendas first to show that you care. You will need to make a professional judgment on each patient and the risk they face on their current medication regime. If you change the medication too early, without their acceptance and trust, they may not take the medication anyway – drugs left inside packets definitely don’t work.
Guidance will often state that patients who are stable on existing regimes don’t need to change their current habits so avoid any unnecessary battles. Changing drugs can mean new side-effects and unfortunately, since you are the new doctor, the patient is likely to lay the blame at your door.
Choose your timing – once you have developed a bond of trust, offer a medication review or mention that there may be something better now in light of the latest research or guidance. Believe in yourself and build up a support network around you to talk through any difficult cases.
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