GPs with fee-paying patients less likely to take on students

GPs worried about imposing on private, fee-paying patients are reluctant to bring students into consultations, according to a study that found bulk-billed patients were seen as being more accepting of student involvement.

University of Queensland senior lecturer in general practice Dr Nancy Sturman outlined the interview-based study of 60 Brisbane GPs in a letter to the latest issue of the MJA.

Dr Sturman said previous research had found UK GPs reported an “uncomfortable sense of obligation” to, and boundary blurring with, patients who assisted with teaching.

“It is interesting to hypothesise that this sense may be sharpened by patient payment, and relieved somewhat by reducing fees,” she wrote.

“Arguably, there is an implication that private fee-paying patients may be more inclined to be litigious in the event of an adverse outcome associated with teaching, and that these patients may choose