Bad or unfavourable news may be defined as 'any news that drastically and negatively alters the patient's view of her or his future'.1 Medical students express concerns about 'breaking bad news' situations. They often want to learn how to do this before they have had practice of situations they are more likely to meet in their daily work on the wards and in the community. Students and junior doctors are rarely in a posi­ tion, and really should not be expected, to break bad news. However they do need practice and experience in this area; working with SPs is one of the best ways to obtain a hands-on experience. More senior clinicians may also benefit from reviewing their communication and having an opportunity to express their feelings about these types of interactions.