Patient safety at risk because of poor hospital discharge information

One in four GPs has seen the safety of a patient put at risk in the last six months because hospitals have failed to provide essential information when the patient was discharged, according to an NHS Alliance survey.

More than two out of five say the clinical care of their patients has been adversely affected, finds the poll of 612 practices.

The results come after a new NHS standard contract was introduced, requiring hospitals to provide discharge information within 72 hours of every patient’s discharge.

In one of the worst cases, a patient who was being treated by her GP for clinical depression was admitted to hospital after an overdose. It was 11 months before the hospital sent out any information to the doctor, who had no idea the patient had tried to commit suicide and so did not amend the treatment.

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said: ‘This is a shocking indictment of current practice in secondary care.’

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