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Medical Records: Copying letters to patients

  • Geoffrey Lloyd (a1)
Extract

Access to medical information is going to be extended by recent Government proposals that patients who agree are sent copies of correspondence relevant to their illness and medical treatment. The National Health Service (NHS) Plan for England (Department of Health, 2000) has stated unequivocally that letters between clinicians about an individual patient's care will be copied to the patient as of right. No exceptions have been made and the plan did not suggest that patients suffering from a psychiatric illness are to be treated differently from any other group of patients. However, the Department of Health has recently stated its intention to fund a series of pilot projects to test some key concepts before the policy is fully implemented in 2004. A number of areas to be informed by pilot work have been identified. These include the style and content of letters, testing formats and language that patients find acceptable and particular issues concerning mental health, children and carers (www.doh.gov.uk/patientletters).

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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.
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Medical Records: Copying letters to patients

  • Geoffrey Lloyd (a1)
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eLetters

doctors need to talk to each other

Sebastian Kraemer, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
06 February 2004

Geoffrey Lloyd (Bulletin, 2004, 28,57) writes "..some important clinical information might be witheld, particularly details of personal development and family structure" (p58) This is true but what may also be left out is the psychiatrist's speculations about prognosis, vital to share with the GP but not always so with the patient. This would be covered by the guidelines as an exception, but I do not see much emphasis on this important function of medical communication.

Sebastian Kraemer FRCP FRCPsych Consultant Child and Adolescent PsychiatristWhittington HospitalLondon N19 5NF
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