What's in a doctor's bag?



What's in a doctor's bag?




For those who do not work within the medical industry, there may be something of a mystery surrounding the famous 'doctor's bag'. Usually a large briefcase, the bag is carried by nearly every doctor wherever they go. The classic style is known as a Gladstone bag, although the modern equivalent is a brief case with sponge cut-outs, or even a tool box is favoured by some doctors.

So what could be in a doctor's bag? While there are some common items, it does depend on the doctor's speciality. Here's some of the most common items found in various doctor's bags:



  • Stethoscope
  • Syphgmomanometer
  • Thermometer & Covers (use a digital one - I shattered a glass one on a visit, lacerated my thumb and bled all over the floor!)
  • Peak Flow meter
  • Reflex hammer
  • Torch (+ blue filter)
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Alcohol sterets
  • Ophthalmoscope
  • Fluorescein
  • Auriscope
  • Speculae; box for used ones and other grubby bits. How do you clean them? I use alcohol sterets
  • Gloves and lubricating jelly
  • Tape Measure
  • ECG ruler
  • Predicted Peak Flow Calculator
  • Obstetric Calculator
  • Urine bottles
  • Urine Dip sticks
  • Tourniquet
  • Sharps box - if you can fit it in - safer for everyone
  • Magnifying glass


Panic kit for the car

  • Oropharyngeal airways
  • Laerdal Pocketmask


  • List of telephone numbers
  • A small number of prescriptions
  • Medical Certificates
  • Headed Paper - practices or your own (without your home address)
  • Envelopes
  • Private Prescriptions - a few
  • Spare male and female notes cards FP7/8
  • A map of the area - better in the car than in your bag
  • Dictating machine and tape - owning your own is quicker than looking for one and if you find it isn’t compatible with practice ones play the tape and record with theirs
  • Post it pads
  • Local pathology and x-ray forms



  • An antacid
  • An H2 blocker
  • An NSAID
  • Analgesia - Soluble paracetamol
  • Another analgesic
  • Antibiotic - a penicillin
  • Antibiotic - not a penicillin
  • Anti-histamine
  • Aspirin
  • Buccal prochlorperazine
  • GTN spray (lasts longer than pills)
  • Salbutamol inhaler
  • Steroid tablets (equivalent to total of at least 100mg Prednisolone)


Parental Kit

  • A butterfly for kids
  • A venflon for adults
  • Adrenaline
  • Antiemetic injection
  • Atropine
  • Chlorpromazine/Haloperidol
  • Diazemuls
  • Diazepam (rectal "Stesolid")
  • Frusemide/Bumetanide
  • Glucagon
  • Glucose
  • Injection for Renal Colic (Pethidine 200mg or Diclofenac)
  • Needles and Syringes
  • Opiate: Diamorphine/Morphine/Cyclimorph equivalent of at least 20 mg Morphine
  • Naloxone
  • Penicillin G 1200mg
  • Synto/Ergometrine
  • Water and saline for injections
  • Hydrocortisone