Researchers conducted this study to survey FPC patients who may be involved in the DFFP practical training; to obtain their views about the process of giving consent to their involvement; and to compare their opinions with current practice.
The present study is a survey of 103 female FPC patients and 40 DFFP instructing doctors. Patients were recruited from the waiting room of a community FPC, and DFFP teaching doctors from the North West of England were recruited at an updating meeting.
Patients felt they wanted to know what to expect before deciding whether to agree to be involved in the training. Several items of information were requested. The most important of these was whether the training doctor would be seeing the patient alone; the gender of the training doctor, and the training doctor’s level of experience. Patients had not always been given this information.
The study concluded that clinical experience is an integral part of postgraduate medical training, and patients need to give fully informed consent to their involvement. The information currently provided to patients may be insufficient. A reluctance to see male training doctors may have implications regarding the breadth of experience gained by male training doctors; this needs further investigation. Further research, including different patient populations, could inform guidelines for patient involvement in training.