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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Ministers order pay veto for GPs who follow NICE on COPD

The current system for supplying hospital discharge information to GPs has widespread failings and urgently needs improving, GPs are claiming.

The NHS Alliance warned new initiatives such as practice-based commissioning, in which funding follows the patient, would not work unless the quality of information improved.

NHS Alliance new contract lead Dr David Jenner claimed the problem had been a long-running one.

'Discharge information is practically non-existent,' he said. 'It just isn't an organisational priority for the trust, there are no targets for it and the working directive for junior doctors has made it worse.'

He added that the situation had worsened in recent months because hospitals were admitting more patients through A&E in order to get more money through Payment by Results.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: 'Part of being a doctor is communication, but that doesn't seem to count for hospitals when it comes to discharge information.'

He said he hoped practice-based commissioning would help reinforce the need to tighten up the flow of information.

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