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 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.