Communication C6

To assess a patient clinically, in OPD and elsewhere, in particular to:




Learning Outcome

  • Communicate potentially upsetting information in an appropriate manner. This should include giving the patient time to ask questions in an appropriate environment.
  • Provide information about appropriate support.


MSF Part 2 FRCOphth 


Feedback likely from: medical staff, Allied Health Professional (nurse, optometrist, orthoptists)

Target Year of Achievement

Year 3 (annual review)

Related Learning Outcomes



  • Be prepared that breaking bad news may be a source of distress for both patient and doctor.
  • Be aware that a patient may consider a diagnosis upsetting, even when it is relatively routine for your practice.
  • Consider that the way bad news is delivered will be remembered by the patient and may affect them for the rest of their life. This is a vital area to get right.
  • Remember to check whether the patient wants a friend/relative/carer in on the discussion.
  • Be prepared for how your patient may react when potentially bad news is communicated to them either during the consultation or possibly by letter; how can support be provided in this context?
  • Allow ample time for questions to be asked and have the appropriate responses ready.
  • Arrange appropriate timely follow-up with yourself and/or another appropriate professional, as the patient will probably forget much of what they are told. Consider that a follow-up phone-call, letter or email may also help.
  • Continuously develop your skills further; reflect on what could have gone better in an interaction, ask a colleague to observe you and feedback, collect patient feedback, consider courses.


View Resources