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Information Leaflets

Copying letters to patients

In order to maintain excellent communication with our patients, we offer all patients the option of receiving copies of clinical letters written about them. This page explains what this means and how it may benefit you.


Please note: You can also download a copy of this information leaflet at the bottom of this page or view our full list of information leaflets.

What are clinical letters?

Clinical letters are those usually written by a doctor or nurse following an outpatient appointment, home visit, or hospice/hospital stay. They are usually written from one healthcare professional to another, for example, from the hospice doctor to your GP. The letters are to inform them what has been discussed at the consultation and detailing the treatment plan. Clinical letters should not contain any information that has not already been discussed or explained to you.

Why would I want to receive copies of my clinical letters?

Receiving copies of letters that are written about you may be helpful. It can help to remind you what was said in a clinic appointment and details of the treatment plan, including any changes in medication. It may help you understand your condition. It may help you feel more involved in decision-making about your treatment. Knowing what information has been passed on may be reassuring. It may be helpful to keep copies of hospice/hospital letters at home to show any healthcare professional who is treating you, for example, community nurses.

How can I request to receive copies of my letters?

When you are first assessed by the hospice, the doctor or nurse will ask if you would like to receive copies of clinical letters. If you change your mind at any time, let any hospice healthcare professional know and your wishes will be followed.

What if I do not understand some of the information in the letter?

Since these are the copies of letters written from one healthcare professional to another, they may contain medical terms that you do not understand. Each copied letter you receive will tell you who to contact if you do not understand the letter or want further information.

What if I notice a mistake in the letter?

Occasionally, mistakes are spotted by patients and we are always keen to correct any inaccuracies. If you feel the letter is inaccurate, please contact us so we may amend our records.

What if I cannot read or I have specific communication needs?

Please let us know if you would like to receive copies of your letters and have specific needs. We will do all we can to ensure that you receive copies of the letters in a way that you can understand, for example, large print, your own language, audio tape, etc.

Will copies of all letters be sent to me?

No. There may be certain occasions where a clinical letter is not forwarded to you. This may happen if the letter contains private information about another person, for example, another family member. If the letter contains information that has not yet been discussed with you, we would try to speak to you in person about that information before sending the letter. Sometimes, if frequent letters are being sent, they may contain little new information. The healthcare professional will decide whether it is necessary to send you copies of every single letter.

The copied letters you receive from us will have the hospice name and address on the envelope. Please let us know if you have any objection to this.

If you have any further questions, please ask one of the nurses or doctors who are caring for you at St Barnabas House.

Comments about your care

In order to continually review and improve the service we offer; we would welcome your views and feedback. If you have any comments as a result of your experience at the hospice, then please contact us at St Barnabas House or fill out one of our comment slips, available in the In-patient Unit entrance.

Whilst we try to provide an excellent service and hope you do not have cause to complain, we recognise that sometimes things can go wrong. If you need to make a complaint about any aspect of your care, you can do so either verbally or in writing to, St Barnabas House, Titnore Lane, Worthing, West Sussex, BN12 6NZ. Telephone 01903 706300.

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