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As of January 2019, we will no longer be sending out the doctorportal email newsletter. The final issue of this newsletter will be distributed on 13 December 2018. Articles from this issue will be available to view online until 31 December 2018.

[Editorial] Patient letters: improving an outdated system

After each of the 5 million outpatient clinic appointments that occur each month in the UK National Health Service (NHS), a letter containing a summary and management plan is written by the hospital clinician and sent to the patient’s general practitioner (GP); a copy might be sent to the patient. New guidance, published by the UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, advises that clinicians now write directly to the patient, avoiding the use of medical phrases and terminology when possible, and send a copy of the patient’s letter to the GP instead.