Proceedings of a Symposium held at The Royal College of General Practitioners, London
15 September 1968

It is frequently suggested that personal relationships between General Practitioners and their patients are all important and that the doctor’s willingness to concern himself with his patients’ personal problems and emotional difficulties is perhaps the most crucial part of his job. Others believe that the General Practitioner should function as a clinician and hive off the personal problems of his patients to the psychiatrist, trained social worker and voluntary organisations.

In order to provide a platform for analysing the importance of human relations in general practice the Office of Health Economics held a conference at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, on Sunday 15 September, 1968. It was attended not only by General Practitioners and representatives of consumer groups but also by professional social scientists and social workers and members of the other branches of the medical profession and its auxiliary services.

In this report we have drawn together the major papers presented on that occasion and some part of the discussion which followed each paper. Unfortunately, space has precluded the publication of all but a few of the interesting comments made at the meeting.