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Lack of communication between hospitals and GPs means heart disease patients are missing out on follow-up care after leaving hospital, a new report concludes.

The Healthcare Commission surveyed 4,000 coronary heart disease patients discharged from hospital and found two-thirds had not taken part in a rehabilitation programme.

Over a third said they were not on a regular programme to have their heart checked by a GP or hospital staff, while less than half received information about local support groups.

Elderly patients, women and ethnic minority patients were the most negative about their quality of care.

The commission is recommending hospitals and GPs improve their communication, and ensure discharge information is passed on and follow-up care offered. It is also calling for increases in places on rehabilitation programmes.

The survey is part of a wider review of CHD services. The commission also plans to develop targets on uptake of rehabilitation programmes, GP prescribing and provision of lifestyle advice (see Pulse, March 12).

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