Intended for healthcare professionals


Going home after a heart attack

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 21 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:754

Patients should visit their general practitioner, not vice versa

  1. Keith Hopcroft, General practitioner
  1. 26 Froden Brook, Great Burstead, Billericay, Essex CM11 2TW

    EDITOR,—Doubtless H J N Bethell is correct in stating that there is much that can be done in primary care for patients recently discharged after having a myocardial infarction.1 Nevertheless, in the context of current efforts to delegate some of the average general practitioner's ever increasing workload and to encourage patients to attend the surgery rather than expect a visit, Bethell's assertion that general practitioners should visit these patients soon after discharge is disappointing.

    There is no reason why a suitably trained nurse practitioner could not undertake all the tasks that Bethell outlines. Nor is there any reason why, in most cases, the patient could not attend the general practitioner's surgery. Ironically, expecting the general practitioner to visit runs counter to the rehabilitation process. Surely a patient who is fit enough for sex within a week or two of arriving home (“unless it is with an unfamiliar partner”1) is fit enough to consult at the surgery (unless, perhaps, it is with an unfamiliar doctor).


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