A new Care Quality Commission (CQC) report has suggested that patients leaving hospital may be at risk from adverse reactions to their medicines.
The report revealed a number of potential risks, including the lack of communication between hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.
Other problems highlighted were the dangers of different medicines interacting badly, while patients could be given things they are allergic to.
The CQC urged the NHS to improve the way information is shared when patients move between services.
It visited 12 primary care trusts (PCTs) around England and carried out surveys at 280 GP surgeries.
The CQC found 98% of GP surgeries provided medicines information to hospitals for non-emergency cases but not all were systematically listing previous drug reactions (24%), other illnesses a patient had (14%) or known allergies (11%).
When the CQC asked GP practices about the quality of information given by hospitals when they discharge patients, 81% said details of medicines was incomplete or inaccurate ‘all of the time’ or ‘most of the time’.
Almost half (47%) of doctors also complained that it took too long for hospital discharge summaries to arrive, meaning patients were seen without a full set of records.
One study has estimated that around 4% of all hospital admissions are due to mistakes with medicines that could have been prevented.
The CQC’s chief executive, Cynthia Bower, said: “Not all adverse drug reactions are preventable, but the potential risks are clear.”
Copyright Press Association 2009