This session will provide you with some safety-netting tools to help improve safety-netting decision-making about whether to refer, review, or safety-net a patient, as well as tools to help improve the content and delivery of the safety-netting advice that you give to patients.

Learning objectives:

  1. Understand why diagnostic uncertainty is common in primary care consultations
  2. Understand how safety-netting advice protects both patients and doctors
  3. Understand why the content and delivery of safety-netting advice are important
  4. Learn about 3 safety-netting tools which will improve the quality of the safety-netting information that you give to patients

Every day, there are several consultations where we can’t be certain of the diagnosis, usually because we don’t have enough information to establish the correct diagnosis from amongst all the other potential causes of the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, we can gather more diagnostic information from tests and investigations, or a referral to a specialist but often the reason that we can’t be certain of the diagnosis is because the patient has presented before the findings that enable us to establish the correct diagnosis have developed. Even when we are certain of the diagnosis, we can’t be certain that the patient won’t develop a serious complication of that illness later. This creates diagnostic risk for our patients and for us, as a diagnosis of serious illness may be missed, delayed or misdiagnosed, or a rapidly-onset serious complication may develop. Our response to this uncertainty and risk is to advise patients to “come back it gets worse”, or “if it doesn’t go, which is known as safety-netting advice.

However, the patient’s response to treatment and outcome is determined by how quickly treatment is started, so patient’s need to be given very specific safety-netting information about when, where and how rapidly they should seek medical attention, so that they can recognise and respond to the development of a serious illness or complication in its early stages. Unless patients have this specific information, they may not recognise the illness or respond in time.

Webinar Chair

Dr Emma Salik, GP, Faculty Education Lead, RCGP Beds and Herts

Webinar Speaker

Dr Paul Silverston, Visiting Professor at Anglia Ruskin University & Visiting Professor of Primary Care at The University of Suffolk


AiT – £50
Member – £75
Non-member – £100

Delegates must sign up to the three sessions separately (Wednesday 20 March 2024, Tuesday 26 March 2024 and Thursday 18 April 2024) to complete the course, however each part can be undertaken as a stand alone session.