GPs working hard to provide continuity of care to their patients despite rising pressures, says College

Publication date: 09 May 2018

In response to a British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) study on continuity of care in England, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Continuity of care is at the heart of general practice and is highly valued by both patients and GPs alike – in fact, 80% of UK family doctors say it is one of the most essential components of general practice. We also know it can lead to better health outcomes for patients, and helps keep the NHS sustainable due to fewer hospital admissions.

"Continuity of care can be particularly beneficial for the growing number of patients who are living with multiple, long-term conditions. But unfortunately, it is becoming harder and harder to deliver as GPs and our teams work under incredibly intense resource and workforce pressures.

"This study found that continuity and good overall experiences for patients were moderately correlated, and this is in line with what we know about continuity being associated with higher patient satisfaction and greater patient trust. 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.

"Some practices, for example, are using innovative approaches to continuity of care whereby patients might not always see the same GP, but they will see, and build relationships with, one of a small team who will all have access to their medical records.

"The RCGP has developed a toolkit for general practice teams to support them to deliver continuity of care against a backdrop of changing patient needs, and significant resource and workforce challenges. But ultimately, we urgently need NHS England's GP Forward View – which promises an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020 – delivered in full, so that we have the resources and workforce to provide the care our patients need and deserve, tailored to their specific needs."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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