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Benefits of Continuity of Care

Continuity of care is the jewel in the crown of UK general practice as it is highly valued by both patients and GPs alike. But what is it and why does it matter?


What is continuity of care?

Seeing the same GP and healthcare team long-term is hugely beneficial to a patient. It allows patients and clinicians to develop a relationship of trust. GPs are able to build accurate care plans through in-depth knowledge of family history and also ensure that a patient’s records are passed seamlessly between different parts of the health service. Many GPs would agree that continuity of care is the essence of good general practice.


Why does it matter?

In 2018, the British Journal of General Practice carried out the largest ever study into ‘continuity of care’ and the positive effects it has on a patient. Researchers analysed the health records of over 4.5 million people and their findings were remarkable.

Patients who’d had the same family doctor for many years were 30% less likely to need out of hours services and 30% less likely to require acute hospitalisation. The study also revealed a 25% reduction in mortality rates when compared with patients who’d been registered with their GP for under a year.

There are other benefits too. By getting to know and trust a GP, patients are more likely to follow lifestyle advice, attend regular screenings and vaccination appointments as well as sticking with treatments and prescribed medications. They’re also less likely to question whether to ‘bother’ their doctor for so-called minor complaints such as a common cold. This over time results in fewer referrals.


Key benefits of continuity of care:


Is it still attainable in post-pandemic Britain?

Once upon a time continuity of care was common practice in the UK when most people would have been able to name their ‘family doctor’ and average households would have been cared for by the same GP for a number of years.

However, in more recent times, leading practitioners have expressed concerns that the push towards working ‘at scale’ is putting a huge strain on the NHS and that continuity of care is declining rapidly.

Many larger practices are overpopulated leading to what has been labelled as ‘taxi-rank’ medicine where few people see the same GP. Add to this a recent pandemic with a shift away from face-to-face consultations and the odds become further stacked against it.


How do I access the best continuity of care?

It doesn’t take long to build the foundations of continuity of care. Research has shown that patients’ relationships with their doctors are typically deepened over their first eight meetings, while a doctor’s sense of responsibility for a patient was increased after two meetings.

These days more and more people are turning to private GP practices in order to access first-class continuity of care. This is because many private clinics are founded on the model of the traditional family doctor relationship and have core values that are built on delivering the highest standard of continuity of care.

Private family GPs know the person sitting in front of them, their preferences, their healthcare and support needs. They have the time and resources to be able to deliver this long-term – putting you back in control of your health and well-being.

The Queen’s secret to longevity

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we look at Her Majesty’s secrets to a long healthy life. At 96 years-old, Queen Elizabeth has reigned longer than any British monarch that has preceded her. She is also the world’s oldest head of state. Her late husband, Prince Philip reached the ripe old age of 99 and the Queen Mother lived to see 101, a particularly rare feat for a woman born in 1900. So what is the Royals’ secret to longevity?


Happy marriage and a healthy lifestyle.

The Queen and Prince Philip were married for 73 years and research has suggested that a long, happy marriage could help you live longer. The Queen, of course, has a very healthy diet and has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor pursuits such as horse riding and long country walks. She rode until the age of 95 and was said to be disappointed when she was forced to hang up her riding boots for good.


Royal health checks

It’s no secret that the Royal Family have access to the world’s best healthcare. But the key to any good primary care is getting regular health checks.

The Queen regularly attends King Edward VII hospital for routine checks-ups and ‘pre-scheduled’ health checks. This is what’s known as proactive healthcare. These Royal MOT’s have always been a vital part of the Queen’s health care regime, ensuring that she has remained on top of her health for 70 successful years on the throne



Everyone can benefit from regular health checks

It’s not just the Queen that can benefit from regular health checks. An annual visit to the doctor has long been considered to be the foundation of good primary care.

Clinical evidence shows that Annual Health Checks are more beneficial and can identify undetected health conditions earlier. An annual health MOT can tell you whether you’re at higher risk of getting certain health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. It can also increase your chances of successful treatment and cure.

Harvey Rhys health checks

Upon joining every member will have an initial health check, which includes health screenings and a detailed ‘outcome review’ produced by our clinical scientist. This will be followed up by annual health checks to give our team an understanding of your health so they can manage your situation long-term. Over 60s receive health checks twice yearly.

During her 70 years reign, the Queen has led by example yet access to great healthcare isn’t exclusively reserved for the Royals. Perhaps we could become a healthier nation as a whole if, like the Queen, we went for regular health checks.