Discharge letters still arriving late

Patient discharge information would be improved if GPs had the power to authorise payments to hospitals, the NHS Alliance has suggested.

Since 1 April the standard hospital contract has required them to ensure GPs receive discharge letters within 72 hours of a patient leaving a hospital. This is to ensure that practices have vital information about medication and test results.

But an Alliance survey found that, over the past three years, around 70 per cent of GPs have regularly received discharge information late. About 26 per cent say it has put patient safety at risk since the rules changed.

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, described the results as 'disappointing.' 'You'd think it might change. But it hasn't,' he said.

'Only money speaks.'

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