New GPs tackle depression and also diffuse confusion of medical jargon

Studies into the prescribing of antidepressants and patients' understanding of medical jargon have landed two GP Registrars with top awards to be presented tonight at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

New GPs tackle depression and also diffuse confusion of medical jargon

Studies into the prescribing of antidepressants and patients’ understanding of medical jargon have landed two GP Registrars with top awards to be presented tonight at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Dr Jeannette Lynch,Wessex Deanery and Dr Muhammed Akunjee, London Deanery, will receive overall winners prizes of £1,000 each in this year’s RCGP GP Registrar Awards, sponsored by pharmaceutical company Roche.

In her work, Dr Lynch explored the relationship between patients’ understanding of depression and the duration of their treatment with antidepressants.  Dr Lynch recruited 280 patients to the cross-sectional study carried out at a GP surgery in the South of England. 

Her results found that those patients who believed depression was a chronic illness and who felt that antidepressants would help their illness took the medication for longer.  Those who believed that depression was caused by external factors or could be helped by making changes in their life took the medication for a shorter period. 

During his training, Dr Akunjee found there was confusion relating to the medical jargon used in ophthalmologist-GP correspondence.  Using a questionnaire he surveyed 50 inner city London GPs on their understanding of the most common abbreviations and acronyms in 50 outpatient communication letters between ophthalmologists and general practitioners. 

Of the 32 responses he received Dr Akunjee found there was a wide variance in GPs’ understanding of the acronyms used.

Dr Akunjee concluded that health professionals should avoid using acronyms which mean one thing in one specialism and something else in another.  Specialist operational terms should not be used in correspondence and should be replaced with full procedural detail of the term.  Dr Akunjee also recommended GPs try and keep abreast of all ophthalmology terms through self directed or continued medical education.

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