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Medical Practice

Temporarily Dependent Patient in General Practice

Br Med J 1974; 1 doi: (Published 30 March 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;1:625
  1. K. B. Thomas


    Of 3,848 consultations with patients at 330 general practice surgeries during one year, no diagnosis was made in 1,656, The latter received no effective treatment other than contact with their doctor, and were asked to return if they did not feel better. But 1,191 did not return, Subsequent inquiry showed that 976 (82%) said they had been made better, and a further 131 (11%) said that, though they were no better, they had not sought further treatment.

    The “successfully untreated” patients were shown not to differ significantly from those patients in whom a definite diagnosis had been made, with regard to neuroticism, extraversion, intelligence, age, sex, marital status, social class, length of stay in the practice, number of consultations, and absence from work. These patients have been called “temporarily dependent” patients and their possible influence on diagnosis is discussed.

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