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Thursday 27th October 2016

Patients copied into clinicians' letters

12th February 2007

Patients should routinely receive copies of letters sent between clinicians relating to their care.

Health minister Rosie Winterton believes the move will make patients more informed about their condition and treatment, enabling them to make better decisions about their own care.

The move will also help establish trust between patients and healthcare professionals, provide written confirmation of what action is being taken and promote compliance, by helping patients to better understand their treatment.

The NHS Plan in 2000 introduced the right for patients to see correspondence, with an implementation date of 2004.

But a Department of Health survey showed two-thirds of patients referred to see a specialist do not receive any copies of the correspondence.

Ms Winterton is urging professional bodies such as the General Practitioners Committee, Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association to support the move. Members will be invited to discuss the issue and come up with ways to push it forward.

The move has been welcomed by charity Cancerbackup.

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