Editorials

GPs, patients, and the distance between them

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6972.73 (Published 14 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:73
  1. J Robson
  1. General practitioner Chrisp Street Health Centre, London E14 6PG1

    Planning would help to increase access

    The issue of coherent catchment areas for primary care is raised again by Murray and colleagues in this week's journal (p 100).1 The problem can be viewed from two perspectives: the distance that the patient is from the doctor and the distance that the doctor is from the patient.

    For most people the convenience of the nearest surgery is the main determinant of where they register.2 Nevertheless, many go further afield, and historic factors may be important in their choice. When they move, those in urban areas often remain with the devil they know—“the desire to maintain a link with a doctor known to the family … appears to be stronger than any wish to minimise the distance travelled to the practice premises.”3 The availability of a woman doctor, and, for patients from ethnic minorities, …

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