To examine and attempt to improve the recording of information within psychiatric discharge summaries in an adult psychiatry department, by means of audit and feedback. Psychiatric discharge summaries from an acute adult psychiatric department were examined to determine the recording of ten selected items. Following feedback and discussion, the audit was repeated after 6 months.
Fifty-one discharge summaries were examined on the first occasion and 53 on the second. There was considerable variability in the standard of recording across the selected items, but the patterns of recording were similar at both stages. No improvement was found in the recording of information at the second audit.
Audit and feedback alone may have little effect in changing clinical practice. This study examines the experience of undertaking clinical audit from a trainee's perspective, illustrates barriers to change and highlights the possible limitations of audit as a clinical tool.
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