Poor transfer of patient medical information between areas

Poor transfer of patient medical information between areas

When, as is not uncommon from our Health Board, Highland, it is necessary for a patient to be sent to another Health Board area in Scotland for surgery or other treatment, or even south of the border to England, clinical staff in the other area rarely ever seem to have proper access to all the relevant medical records for the patient, either GP records or those from the referring hospital. I have a long and complicated medical history, involving multiple health conditions and including an inherited condition which is often described as "rare", though "rarely diagnosed" would probably be more accurate, and with which many doctors, even specialists are not necessarily familiar. Because of the issues with poor shared access to medical records, the burden almost always falls back on me to be prepared at each and every new appointment to explain my medical history all over again and frequently to be the teacher, explaining the inherited condition. I have even had the experience of being referred to a hospital in Grampian where with just the few sentences in the referral letter and lack of access to my records the other hospital did not have sufficient information to recognise that I was being referred for a form of surgery not offered at that particular hospital. The responsbility fell back on me to discover this situation, and then only after I had waited months to receive a first outpatient appointment and made all the arrangements for travel and overnight accomodation. Months more delay followed, then 3 more years from covid, such that I have still to receive a new date for a first out patient appointment at another hospital in another Health Board area. All because of poor exchange of information between hospitals and areas.


I starve when admitted to hospital because my dietary needs don't follow me. I travel from Skye to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for outpatient appointments only to find that the hospital's computer system is down so the consultants can't read my medical notes and therefore the journey has been a waste of time. This happens consistently. 😡

In 2015 my mother had weeks to live. My parents were in Scotland; both children in England. At one point, she was at home, and became v poorly. My sister, visiting her in Scotland, called the local hospital and was on hold for a significant amount of time; I called NHS Direct to try and get help. The lady who answered didn't comprehend I'd said I was in England and trying get help for my mother in Scotland. We wasted c40 mins while she kept asking what street the house was on and I kept telling her it wasn't on a street. I reckon there may be one or two other people whose older parents are on the other side of the England/Scotland border to their children. My MP asked the NHS to look into this; not much happened.

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