Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Easily Missed?

New primary care series: Easily Missed?

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 19 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b491
  1. Anthony Harnden, university lecturer in general practice1,
  2. Richard Lehman, general practitioner2
  1. 1Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. 2Hightown Surgery, Banbury OX16 9DB
  1. Correspondence to: A Harnden anthony.harnden{at}

    The series advisers of this new series explain why heightened awareness is needed of conditions that may be commoner than many doctors realise or may be missed at first presentation

    Patients consult doctors with the expectation of an accurate diagnosis and advice on treatment. But in primary care, patients often present with undifferentiated symptoms without an immediately apparent diagnosis. For most conditions this doesn’t matter because the symptoms either resolve or become worse in such a way that the patient returns before any harm is done.1 In consultations, general practitioners work by using the probability that the collection of presenting symptoms reflects …

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