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Red Alert – Beware PSA!

A patient noted during a hospital admission to have an elevated or abnormal blood result is a common difficulty. This may be indicated on the hospital discharge summary with instructions for the GP to ‘follow up’.

When initiated by the hospital, this information can be easily missed or not highlighted, and the discharge summary with the relevant information inadvertently scanned into the patient’s file without further action.

Even if the patient has been informed, they may not fully comprehend the relevance or importance of such follow up. Consider tasking your administration staff or practice nurse to come up with a good protocol or management plan for these cases. If your software system won’t allow it, or is too complicated, do not underestimate the power of a diary or notebook to alert the practice nurse of an overdue test or recall.

Marginally elevated PSA levels are a common bugbear, but nevertheless must be followed up in a timely manner to avoid missing a significant prostate cancer. Sadly this has come to our attention on more than one occasion.

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