Patient attitudes to receiving copies of outpatient clinic letters from the ocular oncologist to the referring ophthalmologist and GP

Eye (Lond). 2005 Nov;19(11):1200-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6701740.


Aim: To investigate patients' views and understanding on receiving a copy of the outpatient clinic letter from the ocular oncologist to the referring ophthalmologist and GP.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 52 patients attending outpatient ocular oncology follow-up clinics, in a semistructured format using a qualitative open-ended questionnaire. The clinics are held at Liverpool Ocular Oncology Centre, a tertiary specialist referral centre at St. Paul's Eye Unit in Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Results: Patients' views on receiving a copy of the outpatient letter, their understanding of the letter, and improvements suggested. A total of 58% of patients had received a letter and 97% of them said they were glad they had it. Of this group 77% had shown it to family/friend. Consistent comments included: 'help with accepting the news;' 'good to be informed and to know what to expect;' 'confirmed what was said in the consultation.' Of the patients who had not received a copy of the letter, 64% replied that they would have liked a copy. A total of 80% of patients reported that they fully understood the letter. In all, 17% wanted medical terms to be explained, when asked to suggest improvements.

Conclusions: Sending patients copies of the consultant outpatient letter seemed to be highly appreciated and a useful method of information giving regarding diagnosis and management.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Communication
  • Comprehension
  • Correspondence as Topic*
  • England
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncology Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Referral and Consultation*