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More than half of patients want to see the same GP at every appointment

More than half of patients want to see the same GP at every appointment

A new survey of over 4,000 people in the UK has found the majority want to see the same GP every time they attend an appointment.

The YouGov poll found that 57% think that ‘it is important that they see the same GP each time they visit their local surgery’.

The survey was commissioned by the Rebuild General Practice campaign, which was launched by the BMA and now-Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in March last year.

The poll showed that a majority of patients (52%) said they want the Government to prioritise funding general practice, more than any branch of the NHS other than A&E.

And 73% said that seeing the same GP is beneficial because ‘they didn’t need to explain their medical history each time’, with 56% saying they believed this ‘would mean more accurate diagnoses’.

GPs from Rebuild General Practice have said that ‘this is a clear indication of the need to invest more in a proper plan for general practice’ in order to deliver for patients. 

As well as wanting to see the same doctor when they visit their GP, a majority (55%) would prefer to visit their GP for a minor ailment over other primary and secondary care services like A&E (5%) or walk-in centres (17%).  

Dr Rachel Ward, a GP in Oxfordshire who was speaking on behalf of Rebuild General Practice, said: ‘Patients want a “family doctor” style general practice back at the heart of their communities. This is what GPs want too.

‘But decades of NHS neglect and underfunding has made the family doctor a service of the past.

‘Services are overrun and there are not enough GPs to meet patient demand. We’re seeing on average 37 patients within a full-time day, despite guidance on safe working recommending we see no more than 25.

‘General practice at its best provides not just medical care, but a wrap-around support for families that helps to keep them well, for longer.’

Nine in 10 respondents also said that having a surgery close to where they live (90%), a friendly environment (90%), a GP who listens to their concerns (97%) and one who can offer long-term support for their medical conditions (95%) is important to them.

Last month, the Labour party said it wants to give GP practices financial incentives to let patients see the same doctor every time, in a bid to boost continuity of care.

Back in June Mr Streeting had also indicated that Labour may ‘over time’ give general practice a larger percentage of NHS funding.

When he was chair of the health and social care committee, Mr Hunt had suggested that GPs should have ‘their own lists of patients’.

The Rebuild General Practice campaign, which is partly funded by the GPDF is calling for support to rebuild general practice, including:

  • ‘A plan to retain the GP workforce;
  • ‘Fair funding as part of the wider NHS;
  • ‘Greater freedom and autonomy to do our jobs.’

The survey results in full

  • 57% of patients want to see the same family doctor when they visit the GP.
  • The 4000 patients surveyed cited continuity of care (73%), quality of care (56%) and decreased anxiety about appointments (37%) as the key reasons for wanting to see the same doctor each time they visit the GP.
  • The poll also unveiled the elements of general most valued by patients, stating the importance of long-term support for any medical condition (95%), ability to treat a wide range of medical issues (96%), being listened to (97%) in a friendly environment (90%) and understanding their community (52%) and culture (44%).
  • More than half (55%) of patients would prefer to visit their GP for a minor ailment.
  • A majority (52%) of patients also want the Government to prioritise funding General Practice – more than any branch of the health system other than A&E.

Source: YouGov



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Not on your Nelly 27 September, 2023 11:12 am

Patients would also like a crisp £5 note at every attendance and double Latte. However, not enough funding to be able to provide this with certainly and dwindling number of GPs, working more part time . So….it is not possible unless there is a real change in funding/attitude etc. Pie in the sky thinking for another useless piece of loaded research. I want NEVER gets.

Turn out The Lights 27 September, 2023 11:34 am

Agreed N on your Nelly.To late to get this back.?Private service plan B.It would cost.

Iain Chalmers 27 September, 2023 1:18 pm

Sad they needed a survey to come up with rather startling finding.

Fun has gone out of the job, never to come back either I feel.

As someone else posted retirement if great till you need a Dr

Truth Finder 27 September, 2023 2:40 pm

Sure, but the GP is too busy dealing with bluestream training (hours), CQC, safeguarding, information governance, learning disabilities, Autism training etc. All the MANDATORY stuff. We’ll get shutdown if it is not done every year. NHSE has lost the focus and lost the plot like the rest of the country. It is like getting us to re-learn English and Maths every single year, except it is the same old stuff and much more useless and more soul destroying.

John Graham Munro 27 September, 2023 2:47 pm

And the other half don’t want to see the same G.P.———–or couldn’t give a toss

A Non 27 September, 2023 4:40 pm

I’m really surprised. Personally I prefer some

James Bulltard 27 September, 2023 5:46 pm

Not on your Nelly completely missing the whole point. We have an election pending; manifestos are being written right now. The window of opportunity to shape future policy is open. Go back to sleep.

Anthony Gould 27 September, 2023 6:35 pm

Roll on the next election !

David Church 27 September, 2023 7:28 pm

What, no variety?
No curiosity to see the other GPs so you can gossip about all of them?
They’ll get bored soon enough.
And the price might put them off.
Unless they all see the same AI robot GP, perhaps? It could be programme to speak different languages and use different accents, and even different colloquialisms and swear words on a daily basis……

a S 28 September, 2023 1:28 am

I’d like to have the same binman empty my bins each week so I don’t need to bother explaining each time where I like my bins placed after. Will I get it ? No. Would I pay £1 to have it ? No
I’d also like to have the same check out girl at my local waitrose serve me each time, speak to the same person each time I call my bank and have the same waitress at my local resteunt severe me each time. So make them all work 24/7 7 days a week so my life can be easier.

Mark Howson 28 September, 2023 9:53 am

Patient who have complex problems whether long term or new would do better seeing the same person each time. But it is also so much easier for the GP if we see those we started investigating. These days I See a patient for the first time but note they have seen three doctors already in the last two months some of whom have ordered tests which I have to check before I have even got a working diagnosis and when I have worked out what I think is going on I don’t know why they ordered the test. If I could order tests and bring patient back next week suddenly the extended 15 minute appt would easily fit in 10 minutes. Indeed that is good GP work.- a quick tonsillitis in and out 5 minutes. A complex vague pain history- then examine- chat- order Ix all in 10 to 15 minutes then rebook next week for review with results and often in and out in 10 Minutes and if still confusing review then if still confusing refer.
Continuity is a no brainer.

Mark Howson 28 September, 2023 10:01 am

Following on from above. I realise that the current system has evolved to deal with large demand and poor funding and led to a push for large practices. I have gone through mergers in the hope of economies and efficiencies of scale which turn out to be the opposite. I now locum in large and small practices and it is obvious now that the smaller practice in my area at Least maintain continuity and doctors have freedom to review when needed. While the big practices use electronic online booking systems which mean you rarely see the same patient twice and the system is ironically less efficient.
The solution is a properly funded small practice partnership model.

Dr No 28 September, 2023 10:25 pm

One way street. Modern Primary care is e-triage led, and noctor heavy. It can’t be otherwise as there are no new GPs for 10 years even if you believe the hype. The last 12 months have shown me I can’t practice how I’ve learned to over 30 years any more. I’m not prepared or able to do it. Y’all know me as a foul-mouthed Tory – baiter but My 360 (2023) says I’m a damned good doc, the one patients want to see and loved/respected by my fabulous colleagues. So are 99% of you. So good luck punters, I’m off next year for good. And won’t be retaining my registration. Oh….Fuck the Tories. You know they deserve it.

Carrick Richards 29 September, 2023 4:24 pm

It has been a while since NHS could manage ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’. You’d not know that if all you listened to were politicians and the press.