The universal GP Training website for everyone, not just Bradford.   Created in 2002 by Dr Ramesh Mehay

Bradford VTS Online Resources

Consultation Skills

Skills for Explaining Risk

Explaining risk is not easy!

Explaining and conveying the level of risk to a patient is not easy.  But it’s something that has to be done frequently by doctors because not much we do can be done with 100% accuracy, reliability or validity.  Some patient’s trust us to make decisions for them, but helping explain risk to a patient and their view thereafter will help us make joint decisions that are truly more suited to the patient.  

Quick Tips for Explaining Risk

When explaining the risk of something…

  • Avoid using terms like common or rare
  • Avoid using %; instead, put the figures in context
    –1 in 100 rather than 1%
    –1 person in a town like Warwick rather than 1 in 30000
    – Instead of saying 5% risk…  1 in 20 chance
    – Instead of saying 5% risk…  5 out of 100 people like you
    – Instead of saying 5% risk…  5 out of 100 ways things may turn out for you
    – Many people think a risk of 1:25 is greater than 4:100; those people tend to be less interested in shared-care / informed-choice
  • Use picture diagrams (pictographs) to help – like the Cates Plot diagrams (weblink above)
  • Use simple tables, charts or infographics to display the risk in an easy to understand fashion (reading age 12)

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Bradford VTS was created by Dr. Ramesh Mehay, a Programme Director for Bradford GP Training Scheme back in 2001. Over the years, it has seen many permutations.  At the time, there were very few resources for GP trainees and their trainers so Bradford decided to create one FOR EVERYONE. 

So, we see Bradford VTS as  the INDEPENDENT vocational training scheme website providing a wealth of free medical resources for GP trainees, their trainers and TPDs everywhere and anywhere.  We also welcome other health professionals – as we know the site is used by both those qualified and in training – such as Associate Physicians, ANPs, Medical & Nursing Students. 

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