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Patients have long known the benefits to their well being of seeing the same doctor . GPs have described the relevance of continuity in academic studies. The benefits are described in literature (see Berger A Fortunate Man). The current organisation of and future plans envisaged for general practice by policy makers make it increasingly difficult for patients to receive continuity.Fewer GPs work with a personal list, the practise provides the continuity.
The research by Pereira Gray et al is the first study to give hard evidence that where used by doctors, continuity of cares associated with lower mortality rates. N.A.P.P. representing millions of UK patients in general practice, welcomes this research and hopes it can be replicated in other work.
Most importantly, patients and their organisations need to lobby policy makers and professionals to ensure that the importance of continuity of care is built into future plans for general practice.