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Discharge summaries criticised

28th October 2009

Healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission has raised concerns over patient care when it is share between hospitals and GPs.

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It said poor communication about medications was the major issue after surveying 280 GP practices from 12 primary care trusts.

While the CQC noted examples of good practice, there were areas that needed improving.

The main concerns were: that GP practices and hospitals not always sharing complete patient information on medication changes when people moved between services; reviewing and updating of GP records was sometimes left to administrative staff; GPs did not routinely review new medication with a patient after they left hospital; and learning and monitoring from serious incidences was inconsistent.

CQC Chief Executive Cynthia Bower said evidence of good management of medicines when care is shared, would be a requirement of registration with the Commission by 2012.

She said: "There needs to be a change of attitude in the NHS in recognising how important it is for clinicians to pass the baton smoothly between services in order to offer person-centred, integrated care."

With only 55% of GPs saying patients were present during medication reviews "most of the time", 36% "some of the time" and 5% "hardly ever”, the CQC has recommended GPs should increase the number of patients who are present for their medication reviews.

RCGP Chairman Professor Steve Field said: "Patients can feel especially vulnerable when they are discharged from hospital and they need to be safe in the knowledge that their GP is working with the most comprehensive and accurate information available."

 

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