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Discharge detail errors risk fear

Patients are being put at risk because hospitals are failing to give accurate discharge details, a poll of GPs has revealed.

Despite an NHS contract to improve hospital discharge information, two in five GPs said they had seen patients put at risk because of mistakes.

According to NHS Alliance, which surveyed hundreds of GP practices on discharge summaries, hospitals should state why a patient was in hospital, any operations or treatments, and details of any further treatment needed.

However, the poll unearthed many instances where this was not the case including a GP not receiving information about a patient’s suicide attempt and discharge details arriving with a GP six weeks after the death of the patient.

A quarter of GPs surveyed said that even since the Standard Contract to improve summaries was introduced in April, poor information had put patients at risk.

NHS Alliance Chairman Dr Michael Dixon told the BBC he was shocked by the results.

He added: “Hospitals seem not to understand nor care that ill patients still need treatment from their family doctor when they go home.

A Department of Health spokesman said it was unacceptable for patient safety to be compromised after a patient has been discharged from hospital.

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