Breaking down the communication barriers: reflections on a day in primary care

UK context but a thoughtful reflection on the interfaces between Primary and Secondary care. Communication and information transfer. With all the technology available we are still not handing over the baton.

Views from the Sharp End

It was all a bit confusing. Lisa had apparently missed her hospital follow-up clinic the previous week, although she was not aware of this appointment; a letter from her consultant indicated that this had, in any case, been booked in error as her ‘surgical episode’ was completed during her hospital stay. If she had any ongoing symptoms she needed to make an appointment with her GP – so here she was. The discharge summary had been uploaded onto the GP’s computer, but seemed to bear little resemblance to Lisa’s description of events during her hospital stay. Things did not quite add up. The explanation for her ongoing symptoms might have been straightforward, but her GP was ‘flying blind’. What’s more he had only 8 minutes to solve this: barely enough time to get past the hospital switchboard. The clinic was already running late – he would have to make some…

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