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09.05.18

Continuity of care levels tumble by 30% as GPs cite ‘intense pressures’

Continuity of care is one of the most essential components of general practice, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has said.

The comments come in response to a study published in the British Journal of General Practice, which revealed that relationship continuity reduced by 27% between 2012 and 2017.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, vice chair of the RCGP, said that 80% of UK GPs think continuity of care is one of the most important components of general practice, and that it can lead to better health outcomes for patients.

The study itself found a moderate correlation between continuity and good overall experiences for patients, which Hawthorne argued is in line with what is known about its association with higher patient satisfaction and greater trust.

However, she added that although particularly beneficial for patients living with multiple, long-term conditions, continuity of care is becoming harder to deliver as GPs work under “incredibly intense resource and workforce pressures.”

“It's disappointing but understandable to read that, according to this paper, continuity of care is reducing, but GPs across the country are striving to provide continuity, even if not in the traditional sense,” she said.

Hawthorne described an approach used by some practices where patients may not always see the same GP, but will see one of a small team who they will build relationships with.

 

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