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GPs to receive instant e-summaries for all discharged hospital patients from October

Hospitals will have to provide GPs with instant electronic discharge summaries for all acute and day care patients as of next month.

NHS England said the new regulations, which form part of the Government’s ‘paperless NHS’ vision, will ensure information is immediately available at the time of patient handover and thereby improve patient safety.

According to NHS England, trials have shown that GPs having instant access to handover notes online ‘reduces the risk of error… as doctors can immediately see what medicines their patients are on and what procedures they have had’, and the GP practice can ‘care for them more effectively straight away’.

The Government had initially said the NHS would be paperless by 2018, but later this week NHS England director for patients and information Tim Kelsey will tell CCGs that they have until 2020 to completely abolish paper. CCGs will have to submit detailed plans for how they plan to deliver this by April 2016, he will also say.

Mr Kelsey will say: ‘The NHS in England must end the unnecessary reliance on paper in the treatment of patients. It’s key to making services safer, more effective and more efficient.’

Other ‘digital innovations’ set to be announced by Mr Kelsey at NHS England’s Health and Care Innovation Expo on Thursday include a ‘barcode’ to identify patients which would follow them around the system, NHS England said.

‘To improve patient safety and reduce the risk of error, patients, pieces of medical equipment and drugs will be positively identified through the use of barcode technology. This will help to ensure the right patient, drug, dose, route, and time and avoid never events,’ a statement revealed.

Last month NHS England attempted to illustrate its vision for the new digital NHS with an animated video following an ‘egbot’ whizzing along a conveyor belt using tablets and smart phones to access healthcare.

Readers' comments (9)

  • If the input is of the same quality we get now it's just a faster way of getting poor quality data. Not forgetting a quicker way of getting GP to organise x,y,z follow up.
    Is there a return to sender option?

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  • totally agree with 3.39

    uninformative incorrect and full of acronyms

    we use a template to write back to the responsible consultant to clarity x y and z and point out their responsibility to do a b and c

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  • If the GP is informed that does not automatically equal a full and safe handover appropriate to the level of risk.

    For things that would be hazardous if not handed over appropriately, the hospital staff need to arrange appropriate recall and ensure the patient is aware of the plan, or implications if they don't have their repeat bloods/follow up chest xray/medication titration etc.
    Mostly the later 2 don't happen.

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  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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  • Would be great. For now, we are still receiving some letters in August for patients seen in April - electronically!
    You can make the system paperless but still it has to go through overworked Secretaries who are sometimes working for 3 Consultants at a time. Or through SHOs who have to handle paperwork apart from their ward rounds.
    I think what we need is not rushing into a half cooked discharge letter being shot off to the GP with amendements foloowing but to have a reasonable discharge notification - a list of medication and essential guidance for GP given to the patient in hand or faxed to surgery when patient leaves. I don't understand this insistence on paperlight. The Amazon jungles are going to be wiped out anyway for furniture or other purposes. Let's just concentrate on keeping patients safe.

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  • I get these already. Except half of them says "unfortunately we have not been able to provide any information on this occasion"

    Apparently this will tick the box and hospital still gets paid for fulfilling their contract. I wish my job was a easy.

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  • P/c Unwell

    Hx - Nil
    Ix - bloods, CXR, ECG
    Diagnosis - not Recorded
    Discharged/admit Medics
    GP to follow up patient

    Usual quality of A&E electronic discharges in my Area

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  • Expect the usual:GP to arrange X and chase Y with no contact number for the requesting doctor in charge

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  • Dear Doctor,

    I've half killed your patient admitted 3 months ago with an unrelated abdominal pain who wound up with a diagnosis of NIS pneumonitis (no, we had to look it up, too). So despite being frailer than the Chelsea back four, we thought it a tremendous idea to jack her up on a massive dose of steroids, and noticing that she became thirsty all of a sudden, felt her Hba1c of 140 might be helped by a nice big dose of novorapid or three. I am sure her parkinsonion tremor or rheumatoid arthritis mutilans hands will not be a bar to you providing her with the requisite insulin training, delivered by us in the form of a burly matron barking at your patient while she was bundled into a chair in the discharge lounge to aid the hospitals new rapid discharge scheme. We also thoughtfully provided some glucose sachets for her in case the Lantus proves too much, and we are confident that your patient will be able to determine when and if she has a hypo episode using our handily provided ready-reckoner sponsored by lilly. Of course, none of the other 19 medications we discharged her on are covered under the hospitals newly-rationalised pharmacy policy, so we'd be grateful if you would review her after the bank holiday and provide these for her. The consultant she never met whilst an inpatient will aim to review in 6 weeks but actually will probably fit her in around 5 months from now. Please don't send her back in under any circumstances as we have added her to your unplanned admissions DES list remotely under our agreement with the CCG. Cheerio, an F1.

    PS. Your patient continued to complain of abdominal pain on discharge. Any chance you could look into this for us when you review her?

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