Continuity of care contributes importantly to patient experience, whether it's continuity of a relationship, by seeing the same GP, or management continuity, that coordinates an individual's care across the wider health care system. However, continuity is not monitored or incentivised in the same way as other aspects of good practice.
Related content: Continuity of care and the patient experience research paper
What did we explore?
To inform its work, the Inquiry panel commissioned a research project to examine good practice in relation to continuity of care and to assess whether, and how, this might be measured. Continuity of care and the patient experience explores patients' and clinicians' perspectives on this aspect of general practice, and considers how GPs can stimulate and maintain continuity of care. The paper's authors are George Freeman, Emeritus Professor of General Practice, Imperial College London, and Jane Hughes, an independent researcher.
What have we learnt about continuity of care?
In February 2010 the Inquiry held a seminar on continuity of care with participants including GPs, practice nurses, NHS executives, health academics and patient representatives.
Key issues raised in discussion include:
- Whether practices should actively encourage patients to see the same GP.
- The need for greater continuity of care across out-of-hours services.
- Whether certain patients, such as those with long-term conditions and multiple health problems, have a greater need for continuity of care.
What's your view?
A proactive GP who addresses all problems presented by the patient and detected by the GP is crucial.
A professional GP who reflects on their own practice and improves their own practice using constructive feedback, a local knowledge database such as LLAMA (Local linked addressed management and advice) and national experience and educational resources is at the core.
Mark Rickenbach FRCP FRCGP PhD FHEA
Associate Dean Wessex Deanery
Research Fellow Winchester University
GP Trainer Park Surgery