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Recruiting patients for postgraduate medical training in a community family planning clinic: how do patients want to be asked?
  1. Jennifer Heathcote, MA, FFFP, Staff Grade
  1. Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust, Family Planning Clinic, Waters Green Medical Centre, Macclesfield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Heathcote, Family Planning Clinic, Waters Green Medical Centre, First Floor, Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3BL, UK. E-mail: drjennyheathcote{at}


Objectives To look at patients' views about the way in which they are recruited to assist with postgraduate medical training (i.e. Who is the best person to ask patients to participate? When is the best time for patients to be asked?) and to compare these with clinical practice.

Methods Questionnaire surveys of 103 female family planning clinic (FPC) patients and 40 Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP) instructing doctors. Patients were recruited from the waiting room of a community FPC, and DFFP instructing doctors from the North West of England were recruited at an updating meeting.

Results Patients preferred to be recruited by non-medical staff (i.e. receptionist and nurses). 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 refuse the instructing doctor and 65% would find it difficult to refuse the training doctor. In practice, the commonest person to recruit patients is the instructing doctor. Patients wanted to be given some time to consider the request; this was not always given.

Discussion and conclusions Patients may feel coerced into seeing training doctors because they find it difficult to refuse requests, particularly when they are being recruited by doctors. 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.

  • DFFP
  • patient consent
  • postgraduate
  • recruitment
  • training

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