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Aust Fam Physician. 2006 Nov;35(11):920-2.

General practitioners' referral letters--Do they meet the expectations of gastroenterologists and rheumatologists?

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Department of Medicine, Hornsby Hospital, New South Wales.



To solicit the views of gastroenterologists and rheumatologists on the importance of various aspects of general practitioners' referral letters, and to assess GPs' letters based on these views.


Questionnaires were sent to 175 gastroenterologists and 88 rheumatologists in New South Wales to seek their views on the importance of nine items in GPs' letters. Four hundred referral letters from GPs were audited based on these items.


Gastroenterologists and rheumatologists held very similar views on the importance of various aspects of GPs' letters. Most GPs' letters were legible and contained reason for referral, past medical history and current medications. Only a minority of letters contained family history, social history, physical findings, and prereferral investigation results.


General practitioners' referral letters measured up well to some expectations of gastroenterologists and rheumatologists, but often failed to include some important information. The use of structured form letters is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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