Healthcare is changing rapidly in the UK, and nowhere is this more evident than in your local general practice. In a trend that was accelerated during the pandemic, the traditional relationship between the patient and their doctor, which is built on trust, respect and ongoing communication, has transformed as many patients will no longer see the same doctor from one visit to the next.
This loss of continuity of care can be highly detrimental to the patient, which research has borne out. Recent studies have even shed light on the correlation between an ongoing relationship with your GP and lower mortality rates.
The benefits of a long-term relationship with your GP
Establishing a long-term relationship with your GP is more than just a matter of convenience. It can lead to better health outcomes and even contribute to a longer life.
Improved understanding of medical history
When you have a dedicated GP, they become well-acquainted with your medical history, allowing them to make informed decisions and recommendations tailored to your unique needs. They can quickly identify patterns or recognise anomalies that need further investigation. This familiarity can lead to more accurate diagnoses and better care overall.
This even extends to the specialist referrals we make at GP London W1. “We can offer our patients access to all the top consultants in London,” Dr Justine Setchell explains. “But, even more importantly, our knowledge of the patient means we know who is the consultant that will suit them best.”
Enhanced trust and communication
A robust doctor-patient bond built over time fosters trust and open communication. Patients are more likely to discuss sensitive issues, adhere to treatment plans, and share valuable information about their health, leading to better outcomes in the long run.
Lower mortality rates
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice revealed that patients with increased continuity of GP care had a lower mortality risk. Individuals who had seen the same GP for more than 15 years had a 25% lower risk of death than those who saw a new doctor in the first year. They also had a lower risk of needing acute care or hospitalisation.
This confirmed the findings of a UK study from researchers at Exeter University medical school. Data from nine countries, all with different health systems, was analysed and found that patients who saw the same doctor had lower death rates.
This highlights the importance of a stable, ongoing relationship with your GP in promoting overall wellbeing and longevity, as patients are more likely to follow medical advice, particularly regarding recommended lifestyle changes.
In conclusion, it’s essential to prioritise continuity of care to ensure the best possible healthcare experience and overall wellbeing. At GP London W1, we offer patients access to their dedicated GP. However, one of the strengths of our practice is our joined-up approach. As Dr Caroline Wall explains: “We are a very close-knit team which can only benefit our patients. Our approach to medicine is the same, and we constantly share ideas or ask each other for advice. Our patients know that they will receive the same level of care whoever they see.”