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Teaching medical students in general practice: respecting patients' rights

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 01 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1108

More openness would benefit both patients and students

  1. Charlotte Williamson, Vice-chaira,
  2. Patricia Wilkieb
  1. a York Health Services NHS Trust, York Y03 7BY
  2. b Trustee Centre for Advancement of Interprofessional Education, London WC1X 8BP

    As health systems put more emphasis on primary care, it follows that primary care settings will increasingly be used for teaching medical students. The study this week by Flynn et al on patients' views about having a medial student present during consultations in general practice confirmed the usual finding that patients are happy to help medical education in this way (p 1142).1 But patients were not always happy about how the student's presence and involvement were presented. In particular some were concerned about informed consent and confidentiality—the same issues that trouble patients in treatment and research.2 3 Changing practice to allay these concerns is important if controversy and distrust are to be avoided—and should also benefit patients and students in other ways.

    Patients have the right to choose whether to participate in the training of medical students.4 But in many cases in this study patients' …

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