::composing good clinic letters::
Dr Mahibur Rahman
One of the biggest problems in the NHS is the communication between primary and secondary care. As a GP you will appreciate the importance of good quality clinic letters so as an SHO start making an effort to send out good letters. This is a quick guide to what you should include:
Make sure that the following are clear from a quick glance:
Patient details: name, address, hospital and NHS number
Date and name of clinic
Your name and contact details
The doctor receiving your letter wants to know 5 things from your letter, so make sure they can find all 5 quickly :
Current state of disease
Any investigations or changes in management (include current meds / new meds)
Next follow up
What you would like the reader to do
The last is particularly important for all parties involved you, the patient and the GP. If you have started new medications and need the GP to prescribe repeats or to monitor bloods / BP after a certain period of time, make this clear. A note on professional etiquette here: please request this rather than demand it: you are dealing with a colleague [who is likely to be more experienced/senior to you], not to a child.
The secretary will probably type the letter and return it to you for signing. Read through the letter before signing to make sure there are no errors and that you have included the basics and key details.