7 Care of Acutely Ill People

This section of our curriculum guide refers to statement 7, Care of Acutely Ill People, produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Around 10-15% of patients consult a GP for serious illness. A proportion of these will be acutely ill.

This curriculum statement refers specifically to the care of acutely ill people, including the care of patients in out-of-hours primary care.

Acutely ill patients of all ages present unpredictably, and often require an urgent response. While they may be seen in the surgery, on home visits and in out-of-hours centres, GPs may also be asked to give assistance in unfamiliar and unsupported surroundings such as at the roadside.

The effective management of an acutely ill person will include recognition and immediate management. A wide range of knowledge and skills will support these two areas. Of equal importance, however, in the management of these patients, are organisation, teamwork,communication and situational awareness.

Page Title RSS feed

Latest articles

Unintentional weight loss - red flag symptoms

Recognising and initial management of unintentional weight loss in primary care,...

When contacting the emergency services, remember ‘ETHANE’ (Photograph: SPL)

Emergency medicine - Pre-hospital trauma care

What to do when faced with an emergency trauma situation, including how to triage...

Patients should be trained in the use of adrenaline autoinjectors (Photograph: SPL)

Managing anaphylaxis during an emergency

Distinguishing between an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, identifying the underlying...

Red flag symptoms - Absent peripheral pulses

The possible red flags of patients presenting with absent peripheral pulses, including...

Medico-legal: Five tips for managing suspected Ebola patients

MDU medico-legal adviser Dr Carol Chu considers the legal implications of managing...

How to manage severe allergies in primary care

Dr Joanne Walsh discusses the role of GPs in managing anaphylaxis.

Assessing anxiety in palliative care patients

In part two, Dr Patricia Macnair discusses how assessing anxiety in palliative care...

Clinical Review: Stroke - epidemiology, diagnosis and management

Stroke is a common, serious and treatable condition. In the past 20 years, there...

Diagnosing early dementia

Professor Graham Stokes offers strategies to achieve a timely dementia diagnosis.

Multidisciplinary management of Parkinson's disease

The GP's role is to co-ordinate holistic care, writes Dr C Ruth Butlin.

Secondary prevention of stroke

Dr Ajay Bhalla compares methods for preventing recurrence and the evidence of risk...

GPs should consider abuse if a child has a head injury in the absence of confirmed accidental trauma (Photograph: SPL)


GPs are often asked to deal with minor head injuries and their consequences, says...