Communication skills are key to every area of healthcare. Effective communication is what enables us to establish the patient’s agenda, i.e. perception, concerns, needs and expectations, adequately convey a sense of care and compassion, tailor information appropriately, negotiate involvement in decision-making and promote adherence to treatment and lifestyle changes (Weisman and Worden 1977, Harrison et al. 1994, Parle et al. 1996, Stewart 1996, Maguire and Pitceathly 2002, Farrell et al. 2005).