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Breaking bad news
  1. Cathy Jackson

    Cathy Jackson is a GP who works in a rural practice in Angus. She is also a lecturer at Dundee medical school, where she runs the clinical consultation skills course for fourth- and fifth-year medical students, and postgraduate courses for GPs and hospital practitioners. She has three border collies to help her keep her three children under control.

  2. Carol Gray

    Carol Gray spent 15 years in veterinary practice, as an assistant, partner and locum, and has taught for six years in total. A year ago she took up the post of Lecturer in Veterinary Communication Skills at the University of Liverpool, sponsored by the National Unit for the Advancement of Veterinary Communication Skills.


A COMMON challenge facing veterinary surgeons and their counterparts in human medicine is the need to communicate effectively with clients and patients, respectively. The challenge is all the more acute when there is bad news to impart. In this article, Cathy Jackson, a GP who provides consultation skills training to the medical profession, gives some advice for making these difficult consultations as pain-free as possible; in doing so, she draws on her own experiences as a veterinary client. In the box on page 104, veterinary surgeon Carol Gray, a lecturer in veterinary communication skills, describes steps being taken to introduce communication skills training into the veterinary curriculum, and discusses some factors specific to veterinary consultations that have a bearing on this area of communication.

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