It has been five years since ministers pledged that all older patients should be given a named doctor to ensure continuity of care; however, a recent NHS study shows that the chance of seeing the same GP has fallen by more than one-quarter since 2012.
Elderly patient care
Elderly and vulnerable patients are most in need of a service where they are allocated a specific doctor who can develop an understanding of their needs and treatment. This can include ensuring other agencies involved in the patient’s care are kept updated and made aware of any changes in the patient’s condition.
An article published recently in the Telegraph says that Britain should look to Japan for ways to help look after the elderly.
Continuity of care
It has been proven that having a named doctor results in fewer hospital admissions and better outcomes for patients; however, researchers from the University of Leicester discovered there is currently a decline in the doctor-patient bond and a decrease in patient satisfaction.
With hospital admission figures at a record high, research suggests that continuity of care is valued by both patients and health professionals. This is especially true in relation to the elderly and those with complex health needs. In recent times, surgeries have seen a rise in part-time general practitioners and an increase in locum doctors, making a personal service difficult to provide and in many cases impossible.
Locum doctors can fill the gap in GP surgeries caused by circumstances such as sickness and holidays. Agencies such as GP Locum Jobs can cater to long- or short term needs and have GP locum jobs to suit all requirements, both for locums and surgeries.
80 per cent of doctors agree that continuity of care is the most important component of general practice and can save the health service time and money. A doctor already familiar with a patient’s medical history will not need to spend time reading often long and extensive notes; instead, they can focus on the patient’s immediate and long-term treatment.
Controlling a patient’s care at home is also preferable for the patient and their family. This can result in a reduced need for unexpected hospital admissions, which are at their highest levels on record.