Consultant physician to outpatients.Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.6110.417 (Published 18 February 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:417
- J W Todd
Analysis of the records of the last 450 outpatients referred to me showed that the basic disorder of at least one in three lay in the psyche, and there was a large emotional element in many of the others. None were put on a waiting list for admission. Not only should physicians be generalists most of the time (whether or not they have a special interest) but most medical problems are best dealt with by the GP. Only occasionally can the physician attach a precise diagnosis to a patient who has been an obscure problem to his GP, and the physician's most important function is to reassure the patient and explain his symptoms. Routine investigations seldom benefit the patient. If there could be a more equitable distribution of GPs of high quality with good back-up facilities fewer general and many fewer specialist physicians would be needed.