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The failure of hospitals to give GPs proper discharge information is a growing source of frustration in primary care. The NHS Alliance has complained that the lack of high-quality data will sabotage GPs' attempts to take on schemes like commissioning. Now a new study highlights an even more pressing danger of poor communication between primary and secondary care.

Apparently two-thirds of adverse events occurring in general practice involve drugs initiated in hospitals. 'Multiple system failures' left GPs often unaware of the potential for interactions.

GPs get the blame when adverse events occur in general practice, but incomplete information from hospitals may be the real culprit. GPs are entitled to be angry if they are unwittingly putting patients at risk. Hospitals must ensure doctors communicate more effectively with GPs ­ as a matter of urgency.

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