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Continuity of Care

There are many benefits to patients, doctors and the NHS when continuity of care is provided in general practice.  Relational continuity is considered to be the cornerstone of UK general practice. As an Association, we know this relational continuity is an essential component of quality primary health care.  Continuity of care benefits patients, improves health outcomes and saves the NHS money.

With an increasing evidence base on the benefits of continuity of care, it can no longer dismissed as an old fashioned idea. Policy makers are beginning to acknowledge the benefits it delivers.

Dr Simon Abrams, FDA National Secretary said, "Just as medicine has moved on since the days of Dr Finlay's Casebook so has continuity. 

Every Doctor has personal experiences of developing a mutually trusting relationship over several consultations with a patient. That is the essence of continuity, not 24/7 availability. In the modern version patients at a GP practice who can achieve a consultation rate of 60% with the same GP are getting "good enough" continuity. The evidence is that this sort of continuity is liked by patients and doctors alike, provides higher quality of care than so called "taxi rank" medicine and is more cost effective. It is interesting that many of our senior GP leaders are beginning to talk about the importance of continuity - it is a modern achievable valuable objective, and to be honest, it is much more rewarding as well!" 

An eloquent GP blog on the case for continuity by Dr Shaba Nabi

The evidence base for continuity

Boosting GP continuity of care ‘could save millions

Research from the University of Leicester estimates a 1% increase in continuity of care over a year could save £20,000 per GP practice, and urges commissioners to design services to protect continuity. Experts have urged commissioners to design GP services around the principle of continuity of care, after analysis showed that it could have a substantial effect on reducing costs from hospital admission.

New GP contract. How about a Continuity of Care Allowance?

The Family Doctor Association has pitched that a ‘continuity of care allowance’ should be offered to GPs by the Government, in a bid to financially incentivise continuity in practices.

Continuity of care could improve cancer diagnosis

Proper continuity of care in primary care could reduce relays in cancer diagnosis, experts from the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) claim

Latest continuity evidence

Continuity of care protects mental health patients
Integrated care - Kings Fund evidence from Oz, Canada, NZ, Sweden & UK
Low continuity of care = poor communication
Seeing their own GP means happier patients 
Fix healthcare systems ... guess what small IS beautiful
All you need is continuity.... long term condition management worthy paper
Longer slots and improved continuity 'would boost early cancer diagnosis'
Midwife continuity safer, cheaper - study shows
Length of GP-patient relationship determines hospital use
Predictors of relational continuity in primary care: factors

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