Improving discharge summaries

William Hall, Foundation year two doctor,
October 22, 2015

Discharge summaries are an important connection between care in hospital and primary care, and effective transfer of information is vital for patient safety and continuity of care. Having spent my foundation year one in hospital and now working in a general practice, I have been able to see discharge summaries from both sides. Discharge summaries contribute significantly to the work load of junior doctors and often require long periods spent in front of a computer away from patients. The quality of these summaries often varies between doctors but also depending upon how much time the author can set aside for writing the summaries. Any proformas or teaching to help juniors at this important task is welcome.

It is unfortunate that the teaching interventions here did not show improved discharge summaries and I wonder how the foundation year one doctors would reflect on this teaching later in the year? It is interesting that the foundation year two doctors seemed more reluctant to consider that they could improve their discharge summary writing, so perhaps establishing attitudes earlier in a trainee's career is an important step. Maybe writing discharge summaries is a skill which could be introduced to final year medical students? I look forward to reading about future developments with this project.

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared