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Wait and see

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Wait and see as a diagnostic strategy:

  • in general practice, a very high proportion of undiagnosed conditions will resolve spontaneously

  • reviewing the patient after a few days may clarify an unclear picture

  • holding fire reduces the time given to self-limiting conditions, avoids unnecessary investigations, referrals and emergency admissions and may reduce the anxiety often induced by reacting precipitately

  • if the patient is obviously ill, delay is not appropriate

  • the time the patient has had symptoms before presenting may also make further delay irrelevant

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