The present paper describes the institutionalization of a general practitioners' quality circle and the development of management guidelines for the treatment of patients with sore throat. Doctors participating: An invitation to attend an "information meeting" on the subject quality control and a quality circle sent to 200 general practitioners and internists, evoked a response by 18 physicians, ten of whom participated in the first meeting of the quality circle. Practical procedure: Stocktaking of the procedure in the doctor's office on the basis of a documentation questionnaire, the discussion of a video of the counselling of a patient with a sore throat, interviews with patients and the personal experience of the participating physicians was compared with a current analysis of the literature. The results of the comparison were taken as a basis for the development of management guidelines following the Dutch NHG Standard (Nederlands-Huisartsen-Genootschap-Standarden).
Results and conclusions: A wide variation was found in the treatment offered to patients with sore throats in the doctor's office. Deviation from text book information does not indicate a priori any quality deficit in the GP's practice. With respect to the management guideline worked out, it was agreed that in the individual case, a wellfounded deviation can be justified.