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Ensuring continuity of quality patient care

29 Nov 2013

Position Statement on General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements 2013

The AMA today released its Position Statement on General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements 2013.

This Position Statement outlines requirements for appropriate and effective transfer of care arrangements for GPs and hospitals, which are also applicable to other areas of the health system, including rehabilitation, residential aged care, and community care.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said patients are relying more than ever on their GP to coordinate their care needs, particularly around the time of hospital admission and discharge.

“Appropriate and effective transfer of care arrangements are important for any patient who receives care from both their GP and a hospital,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Doctors can provide the best possible care when good communication exists between all treating medical practitioners at all stages of care – from community setting to acute or sub-acute care and then back into the community.

“When best practice transfer of care arrangements between GPs and hospitals are put in place and adhered to, hospital readmissions are reduced, adverse events are minimised, and patients and the care providers have a more satisfactory and positive experience.”

Dr Hambleton said that continuity is a core element of quality health care.

“The key to continuity of care between GPs and hospitals is comprehensive, accurate, and timely two-way communication regarding admission, treatment, and the patient’s ongoing care needs,” Dr Hambleton said.

“When a GP initiates a referral to hospital, he or she has a responsibility to provide comprehensive referral letters with up to date summaries and sufficient information to enable appropriate assessment and management while the patient is in hospital.

“When a patient is discharged from hospital, the GP will need a comprehensive transfer of care plan, which would enable the GP to continue providing high quality care for the patient.

“A patient’s journey through the health system – especially from the GP to the hospital and back to the GP – should be as seamless as possible, with the patient experiencing continuity and consistency in care and treatment.”

AMA recommendations to further improve transfer of care arrangements are detailed in the AMA Position Statement on General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements 2013, which can be found at


29 November 2013


CONTACT:        John Flannery                     02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                          Kirsty Waterford                02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

Published: 29 Nov 2013