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Inadequate ‘link-up’ between hospitals and GPs – Sláintecare Council

By David Lynch - 14th May 2021

The “lack of link-up” between hospitals and GP practices has been cited by members of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council (SIAC) as a “key priority”. During a discussion on e-health at the December meeting of the SIAC, members said better link-up was needed “to improve patient care, through more timely discharge summaries and sharing of information”.

“Members stated that it was very difficult to manage complex care of patients without timely hospital discharge summaries,” according to the minutes.

“This is a key Sláintecare reform initiative, to ensure there are the same pathways of communication between acute and community across the country. This is important for patient care, safety, and equity and will reduce/eliminate significant repeat data entry, within the acute system, into multiple systems, which wastes clinical and administrative time.”

The minutes stated that Ms Laura Magahy, Executive Director of the Sláintecare programme implementation office (SPIO), “agreed that the linkage between hospital and GP practice IT systems should be a key priority and indicated that she is establishing a working group between the ICGP, HSE and SPIO/e-health to work on this.”

Ms Laura Magahy

Asked by the Medical Independent about progress to date, a Department of Health spokesperson said “regular meetings have been taking place, with monthly national general practice information technology (GPIT) group meetings to progress both the adoption and development of GP practice systems and their links with hospital systems, such as e-referral.

“A group has also been established to oversee the work of the GP Research Hub, funded through Sláintecare, which is considering research topics spanning GP practice and hospital care.”

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