Pendleton (the doctor's tasks)

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Pendleton defined seven tasks forming the aims of each consultation. These identify what the doctor needs to achieve and deal with the use of time and resources:

1. To define the reason for the patient’s attendance, including:

a) the nature and history of the problems

b) their aetiology

c) the patient’s ideas concerns and expectations

d) the effects of the problems

2. To consider other problems:

a) continuing problems

b) at-risk factors

3. With the patient, to choose an appropriate action for each problem.

4. To achieve a shared understanding of the problems with the patient.

5. To involve the patien patient in the management and encourage him/her to accept appropriate responsibility.

6. To use time and resources appropriately

1) in the consultation

2) in the long term

7. To establish or maintain a relationship with the patient which helps to achieve the other tasks.

These tasks might be paraphrased as: understand the problem, understand the patient, share the understanding, share decisions and responsibilities and maintain the relationship.


    1. D Pendleton et al, The Consultation: an Approach to Learning and Teaching, 1984

    Last reviewed 01/2018