Canterbury DHB


Communicating with Staff

In This Section

Communicating about a Patient's Condition

Communicating with SMOs

Communicating with RMOs

Communicating with General Practitioners

Consultations Between Specialists

Relations with other Departments

Communicating about a Patient's Condition

Any communication or handover regarding any unwell patients must be verbal: either face to face or over the telephone. The use of text messaging or other electronic means of communication for handover of unwell patients is not permitted

Communicating with SMOs

Always communicate any concerns about patients to Senior Staff. They can only accept responsibility for patients if they are kept informed.

Communicating with RMOs


When going off duty, brief the RMOs taking over about any seriously ill or recent acute cases in their wards. You must also make arrangements with them for carrying out any treatment which has been ordered.

Before you leave a ward, check with the senior nurse to see if there are any other patient problems that need addressing, for example:

Otherwise you may be called back to the ward.

Never, under any circumstances, remove items of equipment from the wards.

Always leave your pager in the hospital for relief staff covering your duties while you are on planned or unplanned leave.

Communicating with General Practitioners

Contacting General Practitioners

Hospital admissions are a moment in people's lives - but general practitioners and general practice nurses have often known their patients for many years, and it is easy and worthwhile to communicate with them. You can contribute positively to the care of your patients and possibly shorten their stay in hospital by communicating well with the general practice team.

"You will find patients feel more comfortable and secure in your care when they know you have spoken to their general practitioner."

Receiving Enquiries from General Practitioners

"Most registrars are pleasant to deal with... most of us are not admitting on a whim but because we have gone as far as we can with management... and all of us have been in their position at some point so we do understand the difficulties."

The GP Phone and Fax Lines

Consultations Between Specialists

It is vitally important for the standard of patient care that consultation between specialists occurs regularly. The principle governing consultations is that consultations should be between specialists, not RMOs.

Registrars may initially assess consults, then discuss them with the consultant for a subsequent review.

If a consultant is not available for a second opinion, you may be asked. These 'consultations' are expedient rather than desirable, and require you to accept full responsibility for your decisions until you have discussed it with the consultant. You should discuss these cases with the consultant as soon as possible.

Some departments have one staff member available for acute or consultation work. In this case, the on call specialist will deal with all consultations on a particular day.

Request consultations in writing, but make sure you also phone the consultant/registrar to ensure that the patient is reviewed as soon as possible.

See form QMR003C.

Relations with other Departments

When expert advice or consultation is needed with allied health professionals, i.e., Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy, the Senior Clinician must also be consulted.

About this Canterbury DHB document (11793):

Document Owner:

Resident Doctors Support Team (see Who's Who)

Issue Date:

August 2013

Next Review:

April 2015


Note: Only the electronic version is controlled. Once printed, this is no longer a controlled document. Disclaimer

Topic Code: 11793