To investigate patients' views on receiving copies of letters sent by their healthcare professionals, 72 patients were asked about their willingness to receive a copy of the letter sent to their general practitioner and about preferences for the type of information to be included in such letters. We also asked what concerns, if any, they had about the process.
Three-quarters of the respondents (n=55) said they would like to receive a copy of the letter. Patients accepted the inclusion of information about their illness but were reluctant for data about their family, work and finances to be included.
Although the majority of the patients we interviewed wished to have the copy letter, many of them expressed concerns about confidentiality, the risk of distress and the cost of the process to the National Health Service. The rights of those who do not want copy letters should also be respected.
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