Please write to me: new guidance for doctors

Writing directly to patients and their families or carers, rather than to General Practitioners, can help the patient-doctor relationship and improve patients' understanding of their condition. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has created this new guidance for doctors.

The move is designed to help communications become more patient-centred and to help the communication between clinician, patient and GP. Suggestions including using plain English instead of medical phrases, for example, "You went to your GP because..." instead of '"Our presenting complaint was...", and restricting jargon as much as possible.

The RCPCH President, Russell Viner, contributed to the guidance to ensure children and young people and their families and carers are kept informed about patient information in a way that is clear to understand and involves them at every point of their care. The guidance also encourages doctors to use age-appropriate information and resources.

The guidance has advice on structure, content and style, and offers advice on patient confidentiality and consent.