Continuity of care – seeing the same GP – has proven benefits and could be a key line of defence against rising hospital admissions argue leading academics in an editorial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today.
Professor Chris Salisbury and Dr Peter Tammes from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care cite a range of evidence showing the value of continuity of care, which is associated with improved patient outcomes and fewer hospital admissions.
However, despite its associated benefits there is evidence that continuity of primary care is on the decline.
“There is a danger that by focusing on improving access to primary care we reduce continuity of care, which has been shown to have benefits for both patients and GPs,” they say.
“Seeing the same doctor builds trust and a sense of mutual responsibility between patients and GPs, while a primary care system that is increasingly fragmented provides the setting for patients to choose to attend an emergency department instead.
“Given the growing body of evidence supporting the importance of continuity of primary care, we call for further policy initiatives to promote it and more support for general practices to help them improve it.
“This would not only have benefits for patients, but would also improve job satisfaction for GPs and very likely reduce pressures on hospitals."
Link to BMJ editorial: Continuity of primary care matters and should be protected
Link to BMJ press release: Seeing same GP is linked to fewer hospital admissions