Researchers conducted this study to look at patients’ views about how they are recruited to assist with postgraduate medical training and compare them with clinical practice.

The present study is a questionnaire 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 preferred to be recruited by non-medical staff. Few patients wanted to be asked by the training doctor. Only 9% would find it difficult to refuse a receptionist, 47% would find it difficult to deny the instructing doctor, and 65% would find it difficult to refuse the training doctor. In practice, the most typical person to recruit patients is the instructing doctor. Patients wanted to be given some time to consider the request.

The study concluded that patients might feel coerced into seeing training doctors because they find it difficult to refuse requests, mainly when doctors are recruiting them. Non-medical staff may be more appropriate for the initial recruitment of patients. Patients need time to consider their involvement. The provision of written information may be useful. Further research is indicated to empower patients’ decision-making and reduce the likelihood of coercion.