Transfer of care discovery report

The eDischarge Summary Standard was first published in 2015.  Despite significant investment in programme initiatives, the widespread implementation of the standards has been slow. 

In this report we identify the challenges that have inhibited the adoption of the standard, make recommendations for improvements and set out the anticipated benefits that this will bring.


Standards for Transfers of Care (which includes inpatient discharge, mental health discharge, emergency department discharge and outpatient letters) have been published for some years and mandated through the NHS contract.

The PRSB were contracted to undertake a discovery project to review the reasons for limited progress on e-discharge and to make recommendations on how the position could be improved. The work considers e-discharge specifically with reference to other transfers of care where relevant.

The focus has been firstly on understanding GP’s need for semantically interoperable data into primary care systems and secondly to understand why there is a low adoption rate and what plans and actions are needed to move this work forward.

The NHS have undertaken comprehensive work and testing in the last 18 months to ensure primary care suppliers are able to receive electronic messages and the findings and learning from that project have informed this work.


Aim and objectives

The overarching aim of the NHS England team is to drive better, safer, more efficient care through widespread adoption of consistent standards and interoperable sharing of data. 

The aims of this discovery and user-design phase were:

  • To review the current state of adoption of transfer of care messages between secondary care senders and primary care receivers of transfers of care and identify reasons for the low uptake to date.
  • To understand GP’s needs and priorities for computer readable data that can be shared with primary care systems without loss of meaning.
  • To make recommendations for what needs to happen to enable widespread adoption that supports the needs of GPs to deliver safer patient care.

View the final report

Final Report

Publication date: July 2023

Transfer of Care discovery report