Some conclusions are reported from a series of seminars involving several experienced general practitioners over a period of three years. The aim was to examine first consultations in general practice.
We found that these were often handled superficially and that both doctors and patients seemed hesitant in their new relationship. We believe that the loss of a trusted family doctor can create a bereavement reaction in patients, especially where the relationship has been long and when the doctor leaves or dies suddenly.
We are investigating the possibility that the death rate is increased among patients who have recently lost their general practitioner suddenly.