New research further highlights importance of continuity of care for patients

Responding to research from the University of Exeter, published in the British Journal of General Practice, showing that continuity of care is beneficial for dementia patients, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.

“Continuity of care is highly valued by patients and GPs, and there is strong research evidence that it is associated with better outcomes for patients and more effective use of NHS services. This research confirms these findings and shows it can be particularly beneficial for patients suffering from dementia.

“Dementia can be a devastating condition for our patients, their families, and their carers - and the pandemic restrictions will have made things even more difficult, with disruption to people’s usual routines and increased isolation for many.

“GPs want to provide the best care they can to all their patients, including continuity for those who want and value it, but escalating GP workload and workforce shortages that pre-date the pandemic but have been exacerbated by the crisis, mean that it has become increasingly difficult to deliver. This has not been helped by the strong focus by policy makers on access, over effective personal care. Nevertheless, GP teams are striving to address this by delivering continuity of care in innovative ways, such as working to build trusting relationships between different members of the practice team, not just the GP.

“Ultimately, what is needed in order to allow GPs to deliver continuity of care to those patients who value it is more GPs and more members of the practice team so that we can spend more time with patients. The Government must urgently deliver on its manifesto pledge of 6,000 more GPs and thousands more members of the practice team so that GPs are able to give patients with dementia, and all their patients, the care they need and deserve.”

Further information

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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.