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RCGP: More “joined-up approach” needed between primary and secondary care

27 October 2009

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The chairman of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has called for GPs to have “complete information” on patients’ medication when leaving hospital.

Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) finding that poor communication between NHS services put some patients at risk from mixing medicines when discharged (see link story below), Professor Steve Field (pictured) said:

“Quality, safe and seamless care should be the entitlement of all our patients, regardless of where they live, which part of the healthcare system they are accessing or who is providing their care.”

But he added: “We have long suspected that there are some areas where this is not happening and the CQC report confirms this.”

Professor Field said: “Patients can feel especially vulnerable when they are discharged from hospital and they need to be safe in the knowledge that their GP is working with the most comprehensive and accurate information available.

“The RCGP has been calling for a long time for a more joined-up approach between primary and secondary care. We are working with a number of our specialist medical royal colleges, including the Royal College of Surgeons and with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, to improve communication and collaboration between hospital specialists and GPs.”

Professor Field added: “We agree with the CQC that it is important to have complete information on medication when patients are moving between services and that any changes to medication and care should be discussed with the patient by a healthcare professional who is familiar with them and their healthcare needs.

“GPs should also be routinely reviewing new medication with patients when they leave hospital and monitoring and learning from significant events is an important part of a GP’s working life.

“Patients need to know that their best interests are paramount on the both sides of the primary and secondary care ‘fence’ and that we are working as a team to achieve the best possible outcomes.”


Related article: Patients prescribed “risky” medicine due to poor communication