Background General Medical Council (GMC) has produced guidance to standardise what constitutes ‘good communication’ in order to provide a framework for clinicians. Excellent communication in the paediatric setting is challenging and paediatricians are faced with the challenge to meet the needs of heterogeneous paediatric patient group of different ages along with the presence of parents/extended family during the consultation.
Aim To evaluate the communication between doctors and patients/parents in paediatric out-patient clinic setting.
Methods Willing parents and young persons were asked to fill out a standardized questionnaire following their consultation in the children’s out-patient clinic. In order to limit bias, the clinicians were blinded and data collection was carried out in the reception area without their knowledge.
Results 100 questionnaires were completed. All parameters scored at least 47% in the ‘excellent’ category. The highest proportions of ‘excellent’ (70%) results were seen in the ‘polite and caring’ category (95% CI 61.02 to 79.98). The area requiring most attention was ‘giving the parents/patients opportunity to ask questions’. Consultants received a higher proportion of ‘excellent’ results than paediatric trainees. Overall satisfaction rate (good and excellent) was close to 90%.
Conclusion Although majority of the feedback on communication was good to excellent, there was room for further improvement. This can be targeted using communication skills tools involving role players in simulated setting during departmental and regional teaching sessions. Assessment of communication should constitute one of the components of annual appraisals for junior paediatric trainees. This should also be incorporated into GMC’s revalidation procedure.