This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs' horror at hospital discharge records

By Christian Duffin

One in four GPs has seen a patient put at risk because of hospitals' failure to provide vital information following discharge.

And four in ten say the clinical care of patients has been affected.

The results emerge in an NHS Alliance survey of 600 surgeries released today and clash with Government requirement that GPs should receive discharge information for every patient within 72 hours.

NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon, a GP in Collumpton, Devon, called for fines for hospitals breaching the limit.

In one case a hospital doctor wrote the name of medication on the base of a sick bowl with a note saying: ‘Ask GP to prescribe this.'

Another case showed that a patient with clinical depression was admitted to hospital after an overdose, but her GP did not receive discharge information for almost a year. The GP did not realise that the patient had tried to commit suicide and did not amend treatment. ‘Fortunately, she is still alive,' the GP said.

A different GP received a discharge letter six weeks after a patient had died. Some discharge letters were handwritten and illegible, while others omitted drug allergies and even the patient's name.

Dr Dixon added: ‘This is a shocking indictment of current practice in secondary care. Hospitals seem not to understand nor care that ill patients still need treatment from their family doctor when they go home.'

GPs' horror at hospital discharge records

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say