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The impact of a hospital audit on psychiatrists' letters to general practitioners

  • Premal J. Shah (a1) and Ian Pullen (a2)
Abstract

The quality of written communication between psychiatrists and general practitioners has become increasingly important, with the introduction of the Access to Health Records Act as well as with demands placed by the purchasers of psychiatric services. We investigated if a hospital-based audit could be used to monitor the quality of written communications with general practitioners, and if ‘closing the audit loop’ could improve the standards. We found that audit may have helped improve standards, particularly in making letters less potentially offensive and easier to read by non-psychiatrists. A method of measuring the quality of letters is described.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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Access to Health Records Act 1990. HMSO.
Butler, R. E. & Nicholls, D. E. (1993) The Access to Health Records Act: what difference does it make? Psychiatric Bulletin, 17, 204206.
Crichton, P., Douzenis, A., Leggatt, C., et al (1992) Are psychiatric case-notes offensive? Psychiatric Bulletin, 16, 675677.
Department of Health (1989) Working for Patients. Medical Audit Working Paper 6. (Cmnd 555). London: HMSO.
Margo, J. L. (1982) Letters from psychiatrists to general practitioners. Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 6, 139141.
Open Forum, Education Committee (1991) Medical audit: basic principles and current methods. Psychiatric Bulletin, 15, 2125.
Priest, R. G. (1986) Data Protection Act: Subject to Personal Health Information (DA 8523): DHSS Consultation Paper. Psychiatric Bulletin, 15, 2125.
Pullen, I. M. & Yellowlees, A. J. (1985) Is communication improving between general practitioners and psychiatrists? British Medical Journal, 290, 3133.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (1992) Access to Health Records Act 1990. College guidance. Psychiatric Bulletin, 16, 114116.
Yellowlees, A. J. & Pullen, I. M. (1984) Communication between psychiatrists and geneal practitioners – what sort of letter should psychiatrists write? Health Bulletin, 42, 285296.
Young, R. C. Jr., Rachal, R. E. & Morgan, A. L. (1991) Maximising communication skills in graduate and postgraduate health-care education through medical writing. Journal of the National Medical Association, 83, 691696.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The impact of a hospital audit on psychiatrists' letters to general practitioners

  • Premal J. Shah (a1) and Ian Pullen (a2)
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