Dr Suresh is a GP and skin cancer doctor in Brisbane, and patients can book with him at this link

A huge shout out to my friends over in GPDU.com.au (GPs Down Under) for producing this infographic on #clinicalhandover. This has been out a little while but I’ve recently been reminded of its importance with struggling to get any kind of correspondence for a few of my patients.

Why does this matter? Well as GPs we are usually the hub of a patient’s care. Often referred to as a care coordinator, we are usually working with patients to try to make sense of what is often a very chaotic system. Between the myriad of services available in both the public and private systems this is not easy at the best of times, even with all the paperwork and information at our disposal, but trying to do this with sometimes a dozen or more other specialists involved, with no information, well it’s impossible. What can we then tell the patient when they come to see us, confused about their condition? Well mostly we say “sorry”. “Sorry I just don’t have any information”. “Sorry I just cannot tell you anything because I don’t know what is going on”. “Sorry but I’ve tried to get the information you need, but nobody is sending anything to me”. “Sorry but you need to ring around your dozen or so other specialists and hospital departments to find some information”.

In my opinion it’s not good enough. It’s dangerous, things get missed, or duplicated. More so, it’s just not nice for the patients, and you are the ones who struggle most when you don’t have the answers you need. As they say, ‘nothing about me without me’.

So what can you do?

Ask your doctors to send letters to either you, or your GP, or both. Ask your hospital clinics to send letters. Be involved in your care. If you are not sure what to say, well just print this off and hand it to them at your next appointment. Make sure they have up to date details of your GP to actually send the letters to. And ultimately if you aren’t getting the care you deserve, think about changing doctors.

Dr Suresh is a GP and skin cancer doctor in Brisbane, and patients can book with him at this link


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