Hospital Referrals

Having started back in the Hospital Eye Service recently after several years of absence I have been absolutely amazed at the variation in quality of referral letters that come in from optometrists and GPs working within our Local Health Authority.

Some letters are absolutely dreadful and say very little, whilst many others (sadly far fewer, I say) are excellent and have certainly highlighted my own weaknesses or ‘bad habits’ that I have managed to slip into over the years working in the GOS.   In the area where I work (and no, I am not naming names!) we have a huge catchment area and as such, see referrals from a wide number  of practices; add this to the referrals we receive from other associated health care professions and I can conclude that we could all do with a significant improvement!

This article, by Anthony Clarke, one of the specialist glaucoma optometrists at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, was circulated to us all and I recommend it as essential reading for both pre-registration trainees and qualified practitioners.  It has been useful to revisit the need for good communication and to make me think a little more about what I am trying to say to my peers in both my own profession and associated health care professions.
A good read.  Thank you Anthony.

Writing effective referrals

Like good conversation, the art of writing seems to be on the decline. With so many different ways of communicating available to us now the skill of putting pen to paper is gradually being lost. And yet, as optometrists, we are required to write to people on a frequent basis.
This may be something simple like a reminder letter, or more complex such as a report for an insurance company when a client is making a claim for ophthalmic treatment. More commonly, we are writing referral letters to our medical or other ophthalmic colleagues.
As with many things in our undergraduate training, how to write an effective referral letter wasn’t covered. Initially, I learnt how to write referrals from my pre-reg supervisor and ultimately found my own ‘voice’ with time and experience. I make no claim to be an expert in writing referral letters but after 10 years in practice and five years working in a specialist consultant-led glaucoma clinic, my experience is that the quality of some referral letters is poor…

The full document may be downloaded from  the Optician Magazine here

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