Over three-quarters of patients value continuity of GP care, with almost two-thirds preferring to see the same GP every time, a survey has shown.
But the news comes as few experience continuity in real life, according to a survey of 1,000 patients in England.
The survey, carried out by private GP home-visit provider AKEA Life, showed that 77% of patients ‘prefer to see a regular GP because they have a better knowledge of their patients’ medical history’ and 62% would prefer the same GP on every visit.
But its report found that the trend towards larger surgeries and away from partnership, coupled with access pressures as a consequence of the ongoing workforce crisis, has meant many patients see multiple GPs each year.
In all, some 20% of patients had seen three GPs in the past year, while 10% said they had been seen by four different doctors. Four in 10 patients (43%) don’t know the name of their regular GP and a similar number (42%) don’t know the name of any doctor at the practice they are registered with.
Respondents aged 18-24 were least likely to know their GP, and were also the group most likely to attend A&E when unable to get a convenient appointment, the report said.
AKEA Life managing director Ben Paglia said: ‘A lot of GP services are under so much pressure to deal with increasing numbers of patients that it is no longer the norm for patients to be seen by the same family doctor every time they go.
‘Some will sometimes see a nurse practitioner or locum instead, or – as we’ve seen in this research – several different GPs per year.’
AKEA Life is one of several private start-ups that have recently begin offering ‘GP on demand’ services.
It pledges to turn up for private consultations where the patient prefers, whether at home or at their office with monthy costs ranging from £80 to £120.