Consulting in a Nutshell : A practical guide to successful general practice consultations before, during and beyond the MRCGP book cover
1st Edition

Consulting in a Nutshell
A practical guide to successful general practice consultations before, during and beyond the MRCGP

ISBN 9780367456955
Published November 26, 2020 by CRC Press
214 Pages 35 Color & 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

‘…a unique book, written by a unique GP. There is no-one better placed to pull together decades of learning and experience on how to achieve the greatest success in the general practice consultation. The relaxed pace of writing, the accessible examples, the clear narrative and the engaging anecdotes make this a resource that it is accessible and useful to all who seek to improve their clinical consulting skills.’

Helen Stokes-Lampard, former Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners

This brand-new book aims to help GPs establish ways of thinking, talking and behaving in the consultation that are most likely to lead to good outcomes. It describes a simple three-part approach to the consultation’s essential task, which is to convert a patient’s problem into a plan acceptable to both patient and doctor. It combines reader-friendly explanations, helpful illustrations and examples from everyday practice.

Key features:

  • Written by a respected GP, teacher, and author of the highly-regarded trilogy The Inner Consultation, The Inner Apprentice and The Inner Physician
  • Gives GPs a framework for consulting that is easy to remember, comprehensive, adaptable, robust, exam-friendly and quickly becomes second nature
  • Identifies and addresses key areas of anxiety for GP trainees and MRCGP candidates, including ‘How do I complete in 10 minutes?’, ‘How do I deal with difficult patients?’ and ‘What do I do when it all goes pear-shaped and I don’t know what to do?’
  • Gives advice and practical suggestions for how to make the difficult transition from theory to practice, from reading about the consultation to actually doing it better in real life

Consulting in a Nutshell will help GPs at every career stage – from medical student to CSA candidate to experienced practitioner – to analyse, develop and grow their personal consulting style. Coming at a time of profound change in primary care, it aims to ensure that seeing patients and having good consultations becomes and remains a source of satisfaction and fulfilment.

The author:
Roger Neighbour is a retired GP, former Convenor of the Panel of MRCGP Examiners, and past President, Royal College of General Practitioners, UK.

Table of Contents



Addendum – the Recorded Consultation Assessment of the MRCGP

About the author, illustrator and foreword writer


1. As we begin

2. The big picture

3. The consultation in a nutshell

4. Making a success of the three-part consultation

5. Some particular challenges

6. Before you go…


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Roger qualified from King’s College, Cambridge, and St Thomas’ Hospital. After vocational training in Watford, he practised as a GP in Abbot’s Langley, Hertfordshire, from 1974 to 2003. He was a trainer and programme director with the Watford Vocational Training Scheme for many years, an MRCGP examiner for 20 years, and the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Chief Examiner from 1997 to 2002. In 2003 he was elected President of the RCGP for a three-year term. In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for services to medical education.

Having studied experimental psychology instead of biochemistry as an undergraduate, Roger found himself fascinated by the psychology of the consultation and the doctor-patient relationship in general practice. This interest led him to write his ‘Inner’ trilogy: The Inner Consultation (1987), The Inner Apprentice (1992) and The Inner Physician (2016). A collection of his medico-philosophical writings, I’m Too Hot Now, was published in 2005.

Now retired from clinical practice, Roger continues to write, teach and lecture in the UK and worldwide on consulting skills and medical education. He plays the violin to semi-professional standard, and enjoys spending time at his second home in Normandy.

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Roger  Neighbour

Roger Neighbour

Past President, RCGP,
Bedmond, Herts WD5 0QS, United Kingdom

Learn more about Roger Neighbour »