29 June 2017

Emergency Care Discharge Summary Standard

Nearly two million people attend emergency care (EC) services each month and sharing discharge information between emergency care and GP practices is essential to patient safety and good ongoing care.

This standard will ensure that when patients are discharged vital information is transferred quickly to their GP for ongoing treatment and made available to the patient.


The standard project supports the Urgent and Emergency Care review by helping to enable improved discharge from hospital EC departments. It also builds upon the Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) project, which earlier this year created a new data set for urgent and emergency care services.

The successful use of the PRSB Emergency Care Discharge Summary Standard depends on the quality of the data collected in emergency departments. Currently emergency department data is not of consistently good quality. The Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) project started in February 2015 and is being implemented in 2017 to improve the quality of EC data. It therefore made sense for the EC standard work to be co-ordinated with development of the ECDS to ensure compatibility. The ECDS is aligned to the EC discharge standard. However, use of the standard depends on GP systems being able to receive the discharge, so the implementation timescales are different for each.


Implementation guidance

This guidance sets out issues identified during the project which relate to implementation of the headings. They are noted in this guidance so that they can be used to inform implementation of the emergency care discharge summary. They are not intended to be comprehensive, but just those issues identified at this stage. It is expected that further guidance will be produced from the experience of initial implementations.

Emergency care discharge summary examples

We have put together sample letters to show how the information should be entered under the headings in care records for a range of different patient requirements. Please note that the headings cover all possible information needs, and only those headings which are relevant to a given patient's needs are included in these example letter.

The standard does not specify the layout or appearance of the discharge, which is for local determination, and therefore the examples are not intended to be used as templates. For the people creating templates in their organisation, please read the implementation guide.


This standards is endorsed by:

  • Royal College of Emergency Medicine
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • ADASS Informatics Network
  • Care Providers Alliance
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • TechUK

The Clinical Oncology Faculty of the Royal College of Radiologists supports the standards set out in this report

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