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Reassurance - Editorial

All of us need reassurance from time to time - that we are doing a good job, that our decisions are mostly correct, or, if we are patients with symptoms, that there may be nothing to worry about. One example of effective reassurance is highlighted this month: GPs being positive with patients yielded good results in a randomised trial .

The issue of how we can provide effective reassurance is of immense clinical importance. There is a need to deal with 'emotional' reassurance as well as information reassurance. This is where Bandolier would like to see some information or action on what constitutes effective reassurance and on how we should deliver it.

Why make such a fuss? Because our failure to deliver this effective reassurance has huge clinical consequences, and, wait for it, what about the consequences for the NHS? We know that patients with particular concentrations of symptoms can bounce round and round the system without any joy for them or their carers. ME, chronic fatigue or the more generic Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms spring to mind, but there are many others. Effective reassurance is important for those people and for those who look after them. What about it? Would you come to a Bandolier Conference on this topic?

Reassuring evidence

We also need to have some idea that we are using the best evidence from reviews or systematic reviews. Bandolier points out (yet again) that the highest quality of evidence tends to be less positive. This month we give a simple guide to judging quality of reviews so that you can reassure yourself when reading reviews.

Unanswered questions

Bandolier 's reassurance comes from those of you who write and give us your views, or ask questions, or tell us what you want. Sometimes we can help. Often we can't. As an experiment this month we carry a table of some unanswered questions to see if Bandolier readers can help. If it works, we might try and do more in this area.

Bandolier conferences

Bandolier is working hard to get more conferences on the road. We don't quite have a date for the late October one-day conference on Chlamydia infection, but the venue is likely to be London, and details are being finalised even as Bandolier is put to bed. For early notification fax Eileen on +44 1865 226978.

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