Will expansion of the NHS abroad benefit UK patients? YesBMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8493 (Published 02 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e8493
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In the event that the NHS might wish to export its model of healthcare to countries other than those with free healthcare (free healthcare signifying that even the taxpayer does not fund the healthcare system) to benefit patients in those countries (which do not have free healthcare), it will also have to be optimised by paying attention to aspects of customer relations such as right of access to a copy of the discharge summary or letter from an outpatient clinic(1).
In the latter context a copy of the discharge summary (or letter from the clinic) should be issued to patients, as of right(1), ideally within 4 weeks of the clinical episode. The discharge summary should be authored by a doctor, and not by the staff pharmacist. The discharge summary should be compliant with the standards proposed by van Walraven and Rokosh(2). In the event that pertinent results of investigations arrive after discharge, those results should be forwarded (with an explanatory note about their significance) to the patient in a timely fashion. Above all, access to a copy of the discharge summary should not be subject to completion of a lengthy application from, entailing inclusion of a photocopy of one's passport, and a photocopy of a recent bill from one of the Utilities.
(1) Chantler C., Johnson J. Patients should receive copies of letters and summaries. BMJ 2002;325:38809
(2) van Walraven C., Rokosh E. What is necessary for high quality discharge summaries? Am J Med Qual 1999;14:160-9
Competing interests: No competing interests