The National Health Service Plan stated that all correspondence between clinicians would be copied to patients by April 2004. We wanted to find out whether this practice reflected the true desires of their patients. A questionnaire survey was therefore performed in older adults and their carers attending a psychiatric out-patient clinic.
A total of 88 participants were recruited; 50 patients and 38 carers. The majority of patients and carers wanted a letter about their care but most preferred a separate, simple letter rather than a copy of the letter sent to their general practitioner.
Although this study supports the existing evidence that patients would like written information about their care, it indicates that certain patient groups might not want this in the form of copies of their medical correspondence. Further research into patient and carer preference is needed before the implementation of this policy.
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