“Just a quick script doc” – caring for ‘drug seeking’ patients

gpteccoverThis was an 1 hour workshop presented at the General Practice Training & Education Conference, 26-27 August 2015, at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart.  Abstract (PDF)


  • Paul Grinzi
  • Genevieve Yates
  • Michael Tam



The ‘drug seeking patient’ is a common and challenging clinical presentation, especially for registrars, who are often targeted by such patients.  Such scenarios are difficult not only to manage as clinicians but to teach, and medical educators and supervisors can struggle to do this effectively.

This age-old problem requires new educational approaches and focus within the GP training program. We will address this by establishing the foundations of good clinical practice, and transitioning medical educators and supervisors into more confident teaching roles. Together with innovative and dynamic teaching strategies, we will provide a vision or model that the participants can take away to allow for sustainable teaching of this important clinical area.

Workshop structure and content:

The workshop will be interactive for all participants. It will start with describing common drug-seeking scenarios, and then exploring the participants’ views and approaches to drug seeking patients. Following this, we will examine and test methods to teach this challenging aspect of clinical practice through the use of case simulation. Importantly, we will model a variety of learning and teaching strategies and encourage the audience to advance their own educational skills within the workshop.

Learning objectives:

By the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • describe how many drug-seeking patients present to GPs
  • explain the barriers and difficulties registrars experience when faced with these consultations
  • develop strategies to manage consultations with drug-seeking patients more effectively
  • implement 2-3 different methods for teaching this topic

Interactive learning strategies:

Role plays, small/large group discussion, buzz sessions, small-group peer-led case role practise, self-reflective feedback.

Workshop length and capacity:

1-hour workshop for 35 people (~10/small group/facilitator)

Cross-organisational workshop:

This is a cross-organisational workshop – involving medical educators and supervisors from three RTPs – VMA, NCGPT and GP Synergy, demonstrating cross-regional educational collaboration.

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