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Not made to measure

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7315.758 (Published 29 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:758
  1. Ashley Liston, general practitioner and clinical governance lead
  1. Newcastle East PCG

    Today I was late for the primary care group (PCG) board meeting. After morning surgery there had been the usual rush of paperwork, telephone calls, and the mad dash round my house calls. The final call was a visit to an elderly man whose wife had died two days before. She had become ill while I had been away on a course (on evidence based practice) and had been attended by one of my colleagues. Her heart failure had not responded to treatment and she needed admission to hospital, where she died the next day.

    Is there an evidence base for the efficacy of bereavement visits and, if so, who is best placed to provide them?

    My colleague had told me of the concern the couple had expressed that their usual doctor had been unable to attend. His thoughtful follow up phone call to ask if the widower would appreciate a house call met with a request for his “usual doctor” to call—“if that was all right.”

    When at first there was no response …

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