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We all know how frustrating it can be when we haven’t received the hospital letter regarding a patient who is sat in clinic asking for information. Or in secondary care, you open-up a GP referral and it is does not have all the detail that you need. Yet, we have all been the one writing that letter, as well as receiving it. Ultimately it is the patient who suffers when the interface between primary and secondary care becomes fractured. In the current busy NHS climate we work in, this is often forgotten.
I was recently approached with an opportunity to create a video to help trainees better navigate this interface. The video highlights the key steps to make the interface more effective between primary and secondary care. From the secondary care perspective, it addresses discharge letters, consultant-to-consultant referrals and managing investigations. Advice on referral letters as an inpatient/outpatient and re-referrals are provided for primary care. These are all problems that flag up time and again, so I hope that this will re-enforce good practice which will provide a positive patient experience.
During the making of this video I sought available guidance on the interface between primary and secondary care to best prepare and inform me. The BMA provide invaluable guidance and advice that all primary and secondary care clinicians should be aware of. Another useful resource I found were template letters, which trainees and GPs can use to aid their communication with their secondary care colleagues. These have since played a significant role in my day-to-day practice.
I got involved with this video as a way to reflect on my communication as a GP trainee. It also was a great opportunity to speak to and understand the experience of a colleague working in secondary care. I hope that sharing this video with all doctors, may stimulate further discussion, with the ultimate aim of improving patient care.
View the guidance on primary and secondary care interface, including the NHS England standard hospital guidance and template letters:
Mitesh Patel is a member of the GP trainees subcommittee
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