5 tips on breaking good news to your patients

It can be as challenging as delivering bad news - and the stakes may feel even higher

Good news can sometimes be delivered in a way that is bad, according to a GP educator.

Breaking positive news can be as challenging as delivering negative news, but not as much attention is paid to teaching this skill, writes Manchester GP Dr Avril Danczak in an opinion piece for the BMJ.

Good news can mean different things to different people — in some cases, patients are looking for a diagnosis to explain their symptoms and so a positive test result isn’t what they want to hear, she says.

And GPs walk a tightrope, whereby they don't want to miss anything serious, while handling trivial problems in a way that encourages resolution and rehabilitation.

"With this complexity, breaking good news might be even more difficult than breaking bad news, but there is far less attention paid to learning this important skill," Dr Danczak writes.

"The stakes may feel higher for good