Communication: not just doctors talking to patients
Joe Rosenthal and Surinder Singh, highlight the need for two way communication between general practitioners and hospital doctors
Good communication helps everybody. Although all medical schools now provide training in communication with patients, less formal advice is given on the matter of communication between hospital and community. Over 90% of the patients who are seen, whether in casualty, outpatient clinics, or on the wards, are registered with a general practitioner, and a coordinated approach between primary and secondary care is an essential element of the NHS. Yet it is an area where problems often occur. Coordination depends on communication--whether by letter, telephone, fax, or electronic means. As junior doctors you provide a vital channel of communication for general practitioners when their patients have problems that require specialist advice or intervention, but the reverse is also true. You may need help from general practitioners, who hold a wealth of information about their patients and have access to a wide range of resources in the community.
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