Letter: Good GPs need communication skills

Click to follow
Sir: I despair that a fellow member of the profession with the seniority of John Adams (Letters, 22 August) should equate high grades at A-level with skilled, empathetic GPs.

There is no evidence that those who do best at A-level achieve more than those with lower grades at either second year (2nd MB) or finals exams. What we need, as Jeremy Laurance suggested ("Doctor, doctor, you're not on my wavelength", 20 August) is an effective dual system which puts weight on the ability of applicants to work together in teams and to communicate.

This would require some effort and financial input on the part of the medical schools to organise. The 15-minute interview (and even this is not universal) simply cannot assess these skills adequately.

General practice is an exciting and dynamic speciality. But it is not the knowledge base alone which makes for good GPs. It is the ability to communicate that knowledge effectively, and empathise with the patient.


Department of General Practice

University of Wales College of Medicine