eDischarge summaries supporting guidance 

NHS Digital (formerly HSCIC) in partnership with NHS England published a guidance document that would help Foundation Trusts, NHS Trusts and other acute services providers respond to changes in the 2015/16 NHS Standard Contract that will come into effect on the 1 October 2015.

The 2015/16 NHS Standard Contract Service Condition 11.6 requires Acute and Mental Health NHS Trusts to send inpatient and day case discharge summaries, subject to the 24 hour rule to GP practices electronically from 1 October 2015 onwards.

This change in the Standard Contract is the first step in a digital journey, in moving from paper to electronic transmission, then moving to electronic structured messaging, in order to realise benefits around patient safety, outcome and experience.

In order to meet this challenge, providers should start developing a roadmap which will minimise the tactical procurement and/or business process changes.

Options for meeting the 1 of October 2015 changes

If your organisation already deliver discharge summaries electronically to GP practices in your locality (using any electronic delivery method), then you don’t need to take any immediate action. But, if you currently use post or fax, then you will need to implement an electronic solution by 1 October 2015 in order to avoid sanctions imposed by your Clinical Commissioning Group.

In order for providers to comply with the 1 of October 2015 changes, there are a number of tactical options that can be followed:

  • Existing intermediary delivery methods are perfectly acceptable for 2015. However, you should start conversations with and apply pressure to your system supplier to ascertain their support for the delivery of a structured message in forthcoming years. You can download the existing Transfer of Care eDischarge specifications from the Health and Social Care Information Centre TRUD website.
  • You can use email with an attachment (for example pdf/word/jpg file) as a delivery method. Please note as we move to direct transmission of transfer of care documents in future years, an email based solution will require replacement.
  • You can use the national Data Transfer service (DTS) to deliver your discharge summaries. Please note the current DTS system will be migrating to an upgraded message exchange service for health (MESH). You will be required to sign up to MESH and agree to an early migration date. Please email information.standards@hscic.gov.uk to register for this service.