Research Article

A general practitioner in an ophthalmology accident and emergency department.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 28 August 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:509
  1. M Price,
  2. C I Phillips


    After a short period of intensive training, a general practitioner successfully replaced a senior house officer (SHO) in the accident and emergency department of an eye hospital on one morning a week for a year. An unbiased observer compared the performance of the general practitioner after one year with that of a full-time SHO who had had 17 months' experience; their performances were about equal. Although a sessional general practitioner costs about 28% more than an SHO, the real cost is much less because undue length of service as an SHO or change to another specialty (because of the SHO surplus) delays achievement of a permanent grade. Continuity is a great advantage of the general practitioner. Replacement of some SHOs by general practitioners would reduce the surplus of SHOs with poor promotion prospects. The commonest diagnoses were Meibomian cysts (18%), corneal foreign bodies (20%), corneal abrasions (12%), and conjunctivitis (8%).