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What motivates patients to become involved in postgraduate medical training in a family planning clinic?
  1. Jennifer Heathcote, MA, FFSRH, 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, 1st Floor, Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 3TL, UK. E-mail: drjennyheathcote{at}


Objectives To discover what motivates patients who agree to doctors on postgraduate clinical training attachments being involved in their care; to explore potential negative effects on patients; and to consider how the experience could be improved for the patient.

Methods Questionnaire survey of 103 female family planning clinic (FPC) patients. Patients were recruited from the waiting room of a community FPC.

Results Motivation could be classified into three categories: 84% of patients gave altruistic reasons for agreeing to see training doctors, 59% indicated the possibility of personal gain and 49% felt some degree of obligation. Potential disadvantages to seeing training doctors included marginalisation of patient care, strain on the doctor–patient relationship, and exposure to potential discomfort or harm. The experience could be improved by involving patients more in the teaching process.

Discussion and conclusions Patients were motivated to become involved in training for a variety of reasons, mainly altruism, personal gain or a sense of obligation. There is evidence that patients may not be fully aware of the potential disadvantages of seeing a training doctor. Patients may benefit from being given more choice about their level of involvement to enable them to give informed consent before seeing a training doctor. Patients should feel comfortable about saying no. There is potential to develop the teaching role of some of the most motivated patients.

  • patient consent
  • patient motivation
  • postgraduate training
  • recruitment

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