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Treatment Notes - a bulletin for patients

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Treatment Notes - a bulletin for patients

With this issue of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin we enclose the first two issues of Treatment Notes - a new series of leaflets for patients. Each issue of Treatment Notes will be based on an article published in DTB, adapted to make the information accessible to a lay readership. The aim of the series is to offer patients clear, impartial and reliable information about drugs, other therapies and disease management. It is our belief that, ultimately, the better informed patients are, the healthier they are likely to be. We would like Treatment Notes to be given to patients as and when you feel it will help, ideally during the consultation.

The process by which Treatment Notes are produced closely follows the principles of DTB production (How Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin produces articles. DTB 1997; 35: 73-4). Suitable articles from DTB are identified and then edited by an in-house team. This version is then circulated for comment to consumer groups, patient organisations, specialists (many of whom will have helped in producing the original DTB article), and any manufacturers whose products are mentioned. The final version is then produced taking into account the comments received.

The enclosed Treatment Notes have been subject to various assessments including a readability analysis and qualitative research involving patients, general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and practice managers.

We plan to produce 8 issues of Treatment Notes each year. In this early phase of development, one copy of each issue will be sent to all subscribers. Future issues will probably only go to GPs and the number sent might later increase. So far, funding for the project has come from Consumers' Association and will run until June 2000. Continuation will depend on external support and we are negotiating with the Department of Health, which currently buys subscriptions to DTB for prescribers in the NHS. It may even prove simpler to arrange some form of bulk provision at a local level. Please contact us at dtb@which.net if you are interested in such an arrangement. If you or your patients would like to comment on Treatment Notes, please do so either in writing (our address is on the back page of DTB) or by completing our on-line questionnaire (www.which.net/health/dtb/feedback.html).

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