Table 1

Standardised patient case descriptions

Case descriptionPresentationPreferred management
AsthmaA 25-year-old man or 24-year-old women has had breathing episodes over the last year with increasing severity.The patient enters the clinic saying that he or she had an especially difficult time with breathing the prior night.Should be treated with an inhaler or bronchodilator such as salbutamol, cetirizine or prednisolone.
Child diarrhoeaA 1.5-year-old child has developed watery diarrhoea.The 28-year-old mother enters the clinic alone saying she is on her way home from work and her child is at home suffering from diarrhoea.Should be given or advised to take oral rehydration salts.
Tuberculosis suspectA 35-year-old man/30-year-old woman has had a productive cough and fever for 2–3 weeks.The patient enters the clinic and says that he/she has been coughing for a while.Should be asked to undergo a sputum test.
Unstable anginaA 40-year-old man has experienced a crushing pain in his chest in the morning as well as several times previously.The patient enters the clinic saying he had pain in his chest in the morning.Should be referred to a higher level facility, ordered an ECG or given aspirin.