Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

No news is bad news: patients' views about communication in hospital.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 24 June 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1673
  1. M Reynolds


    One hundred patients on four general surgical wards in a large teaching hospital were interviewed about the information they had received about their illness and what they had been told about the investigations they had undergone. Fifty-five of them expressed some dissatisfaction and 14 were strongly dissatisfied. The way in which ward rounds were conducted was heavily criticised, but most patients did not object to the teaching of medical students at the bedside. Twenty-four patients would have liked more explanation about why investigations were performed, and 38 though that they had not been told enough about the results of their investigations. This lack of information led to anxiety and fear. The findings suggest that more effort is needed to improve communication between doctors and patients.