Michael Fabricant raised the desirability of patients being assigned to one specific GP rather than being shared between different GPs in the House of Commons today (1st November).
Michael asked Secretary of Health Steve Barclay “Whether he supports the continuity of care and long-term relationship between a GP and their patients?”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay replied: “The recent Health and Social Care Select Committee report rightly highlights the importance of continuity of care, recognising that there is sometimes a trade-off between speed of access and continuity of care.”
Michael then said: “Firstly, may I welcome my Rt Hon Friend back on to the frontbench as Heath Secretary. It is great to see him there.
“Academic studies in both the United States and also in Australia show that if there is a close relationship between a patient and one specific General Practitioner, the outcomes are better both in terms of morbidity and visits to A&E. What can the Government do to encourage that practice, and what is the Government’s view regarding that practice?”
Steve Barclay answered: “My Hon Friend raises an important point, and it is the case that if one looks at the GP Patient Survey, around two in five have a GP that they would like to have continuity of care with, and over a third of those say that they see them “a lot of the time” or “always”. I think it’s more pertinent with complex cases where that continuity of care adds most value, as opposed to patients who want speed of access on an isolated incident.”
Michael now says “I do know that younger patients often just want a quick consultation for one-off issues, but older patients – or those with complex and continuing needs – would prefer just to see one, specific doctor and not be passed ‘from pillar to post’. Mind you, I am also aware that some of my constituents in the Lichfield constituency would be happy just to see any doctor – some say it is very difficult to get an appointment.”