Skip to main content

Review of Patient Discharge from hospital to GP Practices

We have today published a report following a review of patient discharge services across Wales.

During our inspections, we found that communication between hospitals and GPs, when a patient has been discharged from hospital, is impacting on patient care.

Patients expect their information to be passed quickly and accurately from hospital to practices so that there is no disruption to the care that they may need. This is not always the case.

What we did 

During the review we looked at:

  • Quantity and quality of information provided by secondary healthcare to primary healthcare and whether this can be improved
  • Timeliness and accuracy of discharge information
  • How poor discharge information has impacted on the care provided to patients
  • Compliance with guidance and Welsh Government Health and Care Standards and
  • Understanding the processes that hospitals and GP practices use for information sharing and whether these can be improved

What we found

  • Electronic discharge (e-discharge) has had a positive impact on both quality of information and timeliness of receipt by GPs 
  • Discharge is often more efficient where ward-based pharmacy staff are used
  • Professionals involved in patient care need to take greater responsibility for ensuring that they provide timely, accurate and relevant information to colleagues in order to achieve continuity of care
  • There is a need for greater clarity around the roles and responsibilities of those healthcare professionals involved in the discharge process, with stronger relationships needed between GPs and hospitals
  • There is often insufficient engagement with patients and families on how and when discharge will occur

HIW has made 13 recommendations for NHS Wales healthcare organisations and NHS Wales to consider as result of these findings.