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Episode 022: Exploring the role of gut feelings in how GPs diagnose cancer

In this episode we talk to Dr Claire Friedemann Smith, a senior researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford.

The paper is: GPs’ use of gut feelings when assessing cancer risk in primary care: A qualitative study

Read the paper: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp21X714269

GP’s gut feelings have often been criticised because of their subjective nature. GP’s suggested that they did not rely on gut feelings in isolation but used them as prompts to gather additional clinical evidence to support their decisions and to reduce the potential criticism of being ‘unscientific’. They stated that gut feelings were integral to efficient and professional patient care, particularly when the presentation causing concern fell into a grey-area of clinical practice that guidelines do not adequately address. As gut feelings were described as most reliable when used by an experienced GP, grounded on years of observations and accumulated clinical knowledge, there may be a role for mentoring less experienced GPs to understand and respond appropriately to them.

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