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Corridor consultations and the medical microbiological record: is patient safety at risk?
  1. S R Heard1,
  2. C Roberts2,
  3. S J Furrows1,
  4. M Kelsey3,
  5. L Southgate4,
  6. on behalf of the Specialty Assessment Working Group for Medical Microbiology of the GMC
  1. 1London Deanery, 20 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DZ, UK
  2. 2Level 6, Medical Microbiology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
  3. 3Department of Microbiology, Whittington Hospital, Highgate, London N19 5NF, UK
  4. 4Performance Assessment Implementation Group, General Medical Council, Great Portland St, London W1N 6JE, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Heard, London Deanery, 20 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DZ, UK; 


The performance procedures of the General Medical Council are aimed at identifying seriously deficient performance in a doctor. The performance procedures require the medical record to be of a standard that enables the next doctor seeing the patient to give adequate care based on the available information. Setting standards for microbiological record keeping has proved difficult. Over one fifth of practising medical microbiologists (including virologists) in the UK (139 of 676) responded to a survey undertaken by the working group developing the performance procedures for microbiology, to identify current practice and to develop recommendations for agreement within the profession about the standards of the microbiological record. The cumulative frequency for the surveyed recording methods used indicated that at various times 65% (90 of 139) of respondents used a daybook, 62% (86 of 139) used the back of the clinical request card, 57% (79 of 139) used a computer record, and 22% (30 of 139) used an index card system to record microbiological advice, suggesting wide variability in relation to how medical microbiologists maintain clinical records.

  • General Medical Council
  • performance procedures
  • clinical risk
  • corridor consultations
  • medical microbiological record
  • patient safety
  • GMC, General Medical Council
  • SAWG, Specialty Assessment Working Group

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