The study was partly based on a retrospective analysis of 408 hospital referrals and 261 discharge summary letters and partly on interviews with chief physicians/surgeons and general practitioners. The level of information in hospital referrals: patient history 87%, objective findings 94%, social medicine 31%, plan/expectations 21%. The diagnostic applicability of patient history/objective findings was 95% and social medicine 70%. The discharge summary letter was received 2-3 days after hospital discharge in 17% cases. In the discharge letters information about medication was described in 41%, information given to patient/relatives in 9%. When discharge summary letters from departments of internal medicine and surgery were compared the level of informations from departments of internal medicine to departments of surgery was superior e.g. descriptions of medication (62% against 26%), date of control (34% against 24%) and information to patient/relatives (12% against 5%). The conclusion was that the level of information and the diagnostic applicability showed variation with regard to quality. General practitioners and hospitals must develop guidelines for hospital referrals and discharge summary letters in order to improve the patient's course.