Correctly predicting the course of a patientâ€™s pattern of complaints, even if no diagnosis has (yet) been established, is a core task of GPs. This is a complex task requiring extensive knowledge and experience, as the presentation of diseases in primary care regularly deviates from what doctors learn at medical school. In addition, knowledge among GPs about clinical pictures requiring immediate action is not always sufficient. Finally, GPsâ€™ context and experiential knowledge are decreasing due to changes in the organization of care. In the authorsâ€™ opinion, postgraduate courses for GPs insufficiently address these issues. Postgraduate courses should teach them about serious diseases that must not be missed, about uncommon presentations of common diseases and about the role of gut feelings in diagnostic thinking and the way to act on these feelings. GPs should be obliged to devote part of their compulsory postgraduate training to these subjects.
This is an abstract of an article published in the Dutch Journal of Medicine (NTvG) by C.F.Stolper, M.W.J. Van de Wiel and G.J. Dinant.