Fiona M Foley
Paul B Fitzgerald
Stuart J Lee
Patients are not always fully aware of
the details of their assessment and
management plan detailed in the letter
sent from the specialist to the general
practitioner following referral. One
approach to solving this problem is for
the specialist to copy the GP reply letter
to the patient.
To determine whether receiving a
copy of the GP reply letter improves
outcomes in patients referred by their
GP for a psychiatric assessment.
A single blinded randomised control
trial comparing outcomes following a
one-off consultation for a depressive
and/or anxiety disorder in patients who
received the GP reply letter sent from
a community mental health service, to
patients who did not.
Data was collected for 21 letter
recipients and 18 control participants.
A significant group by time interaction
found total DASS-21 scores improved to
a greater extent for the letter recipient
group, no significant difference in
adherence was found.
General practitioners are often overwhelmed with paperwork, including correspondence from specialist colleagues incorporating detailed management plans and suggestions for patient care. It can be difficult to ensure that these are always communicated to the patient or followed up systematically over the long term. One approach to this problem is for the specialist to copy the GP reply letter to the patient.
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