Research Article

Use of thermometers in general practice.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.304.6832.961 (Published 11 April 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:961
  1. S. Clarke
  1. The Surgery, Camberley, Surrey.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE--To identify the attitudes of general practitioners towards the use of thermometers in general practice. DESIGN--Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING--All general practitioners in the catchment area of Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey. SUBJECTS--145 general practitioners. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Answers to questions covering a variety of aspects concerning the use of thermometers in general practice. RESULTS--116 (80%) doctors replied. Seven doctors did not have any method of taking a patient's temperature; up to 12 more doctors did not use their thermometers and 56 doctors used them infrequently, less than once a fortnight. Mercury glass thermometers were most commonly used (80 doctors; 69%), but only 8% of doctors used them correctly. Six doctors failed to clean their thermometers between patients. The study failed to identify the roles of axillary and rectal temperature readings. CONCLUSION--There is a wide variation in attitudes towards the use of thermometers in general practice.