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It is time to write for our patients, rather than about them?
  1. Jonathan Hinton1,
  2. Beteal Ashinne2,
  3. Terry Levy1,
  4. Benedict M Wiles3,4
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth, UK
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK
  4. 4Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan Hinton, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth BH7 7DW, UK; j.hinton1{at}nhs.net

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Clear communication from cardiologists to both general practitioners and patients is an essential component of good clinical practice. Increasingly complex subspeciality areas within cardiology are also further heightening the need for easily understandable communication. Oral communication is extensively taught at medical school and further advanced during specialty training. Yet, while all clinicians endeavour to speak for their patients, they very rarely write for them.

In the UK, outpatient cardiology referrals are generated by a written letter from the primary care physician. Once the cardiology assessment has taken place, a letter detailing the outcome is usually returned. This letter is often, but not universally, also sent to the patient in the UK. The majority of these written communications are directed at medical professionals, despite clear guidance existing to the contrary.1 2 The Paterson Report and the Please Write to Me guidance from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, published in 2020 and 2018, respectively, both recommend that it should be standard practice for consultants to write to …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @benwilesEP

  • Contributors JH drafted the original version of the article with guidance and review from TL and BMW. Further advice and edits after review were provided by BA.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests BA is on the editorial board at Heart.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.