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Independents' Day

Patients want continuity not more choice

GP leaders hail patient survey results

A ringing endorsement of the traditional values of general practice has come from the views of 10,000 patients who took part in the Great Pulse Patient Survey ­ here, a selection a GP leaders and academics give their reaction to the findings

Dr Mayur Lakhani RCGP chair

'These are very positive results that confirm what we know to be instinctively true ­ patients appreciate personal doctoring.

'I want a national debate on these issues ­ they are not going to go away.'

Professor Allyson Pollock chair of health policy and health services research at UCL

'The results of the survey show the enormous support for GP services. The most worrying thing is that patients may not yet realise how GP services are being changed with fragmentation of care and privatisation. Patients will be bewildered and confused when they find out what's going on.'

Professor Greg Rubin professor of primary care at the

University of Sunderland

'The research we've completed mirrors these findings ­ it shows that while getting to see your doctor quickly is important to patients, it's not the most important issue.

'Your survey results also indicate a lack of enthusiasm for drop-in clinics which seems quite clear.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum GPC chair

'Every survey of which I am aware shows that older patients, in particular, place a high value on continuity of care. The Pulse survey confirms this. It's difficult to see how a fragmented primary care service could offer this.

'It's also interesting to see the Pulse survey shows that only 7 per cent of patients would prefer to see a doctor at a drop-in clinic immediately rather than wait for their own GP.'

Professor Aneez Esmail senior lecturer in general practice at the University of Manchester

'There's an argument of continuity versus access. I believed at one point that access was more important than continuity but as I've done more general practice I've realised the importance of continuity. We have undervalued that because we have put too much emphasis on access. It's gone too far and there needs to be a reaffirmation of continuity.'

Dr Mike Dixon chair of the NHS Alliance

'The survey findings are a big thumbs-up for family medicine.'

Dr Chaand Nagpaul chair of the GPC primary care development subcommittee

'This indicates that which GPs have repeatedly stated to the Government ­ that patients actually value continuity. We know it provides better outcomes and is cost-effective ­ there is ample evidence for that.'

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