Discharge summary toolkit for patients will help GPs

GPs will find it easier to provide effective care for patients discharged from hospital following the launch of a discharge summary toolkit, the Royal College of Physicians believes.

The college has developed the web-based Discharge Summary Implementation Toolkit to help NHS trusts implement a 24-hour electronic discharge summary system.

The toolkit contains case studies and short video clips from trusts who have implemented the 24 hour discharge summary.

The toolkit has been tested by five NHS foundation trusts. It helps trusts set in place clinical standards developed by the Royal College of Physicians for the structure and content of the discharge summary.

A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Physicians said GPs, patients and carers had over many years expressed discontent about the generally poor quality of discharge summaries. These summaries can be incomplete, inaccurate, or even illegible, and this can lead to poor patient care, she said.

Charles Gutteridge, England's national clinical director for informatics at the DoH, said information would be delivered to GPs within 24 hours of discharge.

He added: 'We now have a discharge summary that is approved by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and can be provided by any hospital or clinic, containing the information that GPs need to continue care and for patients who need to know which drugs they should take and which procedures they have just had done.

'This information helps patients, it helps healthcare professionals and it makes care better right now and in the future.'

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