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Discharge and outpatient letters – Primary & Secondary Care Interface

Discharge and outpatient letters

Delays in sending information to GPs (and poorly written or incomplete discharge information) mean patients may not get correct medication or appropriate monitoring by primary care. Time may be spent by GP staff seeking clarification. Tests may be repeated unnecessarily.

Letters get sent to the wrong doctor (ie not the actual referring doctor) or get sent to the usual doctor rather than a temporary doctor if not discharged home.

Letters are not always copied to patients appropriately.

Failure to send letters to other relevant providers or agencies involved in the patient’s care means they may need to contact the general practice or hospital clinic.

Diagnostic or intervention coding may not be clear. This may cause delays in updating the GP record. Sometimes secondary and primary care use different coding schemes.

Use of abbreviations or acronyms (particularly the same acronym used for different conditions in different specialties) may need clarification causing delays in actioning recommendations in letters.