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Major flaws in letters GPs get from A&E

Computer-generated letters sent to GPs by A&E departments after they have treated patients often lack crucial information and give wrong diagnoses, research has found.

Inaccuracies or wrong diagnoses were found in 46 per cent of 300 letters analysed by the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth due to incorrect coding of information by nurses, receptionists or doctors.

Some 22 per cent of the letters failed to include special issues important for GP follow-up, 21 per cent did not give a date for the removal of sutures and 7 per cent had a secondary diagnosis missing.

'Using computerised administration systems to generate discharge correspondence from previously captured data is efficient, but the quality of these letters is poor. We have no reason to believe ours is significantly worse than others,' said a report in Emergency Medicine Journal (May).

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