This twelfth best practice review examines four series of common primary care questions in laboratory medicine: (i) antiepileptic drug monitoring; (ii) infectious diarrhoea; (iii) methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus; and (iv) brain natriuretic peptide. The review is presented in question–answer format, referenced for each question series. The recommendations represent a précis of guidance found using a standardised literature search of national and international guidance notes, consensus statements, health policy documents and evidence-based medicine reviews, supplemented by MEDLINE EMBASE searches to identify relevant primary research documents. They are not standards but form a guide to be set in the clinical context. Most are consensus rather than evidence-based. They will be updated periodically to take account of new information.
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Funding This work has been supported (in alphabetical order) by the Association of Clinical Biochemists*, Association of Clinical Pathologists*, Association of Medical Microbiologists, British Society for Haematology, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Pathologists* and the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics in Newcastle (SCHIN), representatives of whom have contributed to the reviewing process (*these organisations contributed direct funding to support the project start-up). The opinions stated are however those of the authors.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.