Home             Background to study              Project partners                    Contact us


Patient information

Carer information

Professional information


Writing to patients and carers



“Written information encourages questions after they have had chance to read the information and had chance to take in the knowledge”


  • Remember the purpose of what you are writing and keep to the point. Don’t include unnecessary information which hides your message.

  • Choose your language carefully so that it cannot be misinterpreted or cause avoidable distress.

  • Be honest, but sensitive. Use the same wording you would if the patient and carer were sitting opposite you.

  • Use medical terms when they are appropriate, but make sure you explain them in everyday language so that the patient and carer understands.

  • Consider simple drawings rather than long explanations.

  • Keep sentences short and avoid long, complicated words. Break text up into short paragraphs. Consider using bullet points, so that you don’t overload the reader. Use a clear font and font size.

  • Use personal reference words (‘I’ and ‘you’) to make the text more friendly and less threatening. Try to avoid sounding cold or pompous.


The Plain English Campaign provides a guide to writing medical information at : www.plainenglish.co.uk/health.html


Top of Page

This site has been established for the dissemination of information. While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site is accurate and current we accept no liability for any omissions or inaccuracies that may have crept in. If in any doubt please contact your doctor for further advice.

Last Modified 13 August 2004
Maintained by Matthew Harris