Breaking bad news: A guide for doctors

The aim of this e-learning course is to equip the user with a model for breaking bad news, to both patients and next of kin, and to provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and key skills required in these difficult conversations.

This course is not meant to demonstrate best practice or represent a guideline but to highlight physicians' frontline experiences and continue the discussion around honest conversations about dying, which was the subject of the RCP's Talking about dying report released in October 2018.

Free access for RCP members

If you are a member of the RCP, please email to request free access to this course. If you are not a member, please find out more about joining the RCP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should purchase this e-learning course?

This course is aimed at doctors of all specialties.

Does this module offer CPD accreditation?

This module offers 1 external CPD credit. Please note that the entire package must be completed in order to gain CPD credits. If compulsory activities are not completed or are completed and score below the pass mark of 70%, users will not be able to claim a CPD certificate.

How much does it cost?

This course is free for RCP members and fellows. Non-members can purchase this course for £15,

What are the IT requirements?

Browser compatibility:

  • Internet Explorer 7 or later
  • Safari 5 or later
  • Firefox 3.5 or later
  • Chrome 10 or later.

Remember to download the latest version of your browser when an update is available, and delete your internet history regularly, as this helps to avoid accessibility issues.

PC/Mac specification:

  • PC running Windows Vista 7 or later
  • Mac running Mac OS 10.7 or later
  • Adobe Flash Player 6.0.79 or later.

Mobile devices:

  • All content can be accessed on PCs, Macs and iPads.
  • E-lessons and quizzes can now also be completed on iPads, with Mobile Safari in Apple iOS 5.0 or later.
  • Please be advised that mobile browsers and operating systems can cause some inconsistency in display and therefore quizzes especially are usually best completed on a desktop for optimum interaction.

How long will I have access for?

You will have access to the package for 3 months.

I am unable to view the videos – what can I do?

Playback of multimedia content such as videos can vary, depending on your network performance and settings. In particular, some NHS trusts do not allow videos to be viewed. This e-learning package requires access to the videos in order to complete CPD activities, so those attempting to access the modules from within trusts that do not meet the IT requirements may want to access the learning from home or another computer outside the trust.

Is support available as part of the course?

A support contact is available via email and will respond to any query within 2 working days. Please email the e-learning team at or phone +44 (0)20 3075 1422 with any queries.