Editorials

Continuity of primary care matters and should be protected

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j373 (Published 01 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j373
  1. Peter Tammes, senior research associate,
  2. Chris Salisbury, professor of primary health care
  1. Centre for Academic Primary Care, NIHR School for Primary Care Research, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK
  1. Correspondence to: P Tammes p.tammes{at}bristol.ac.uk

Continuity could be a key line of defence against rising hospital admissions

Healthcare systems in many countries are seeking to reduce hospital admissions for patients with conditions manageable in primary care, so called ambulatory care sensitive conditions. One approach has been to seek to improve access to primary care, but this might have the unintended effect of reducing continuity of care.1

Continuity of care is an important aspect of primary care that is highly valued by patients and general practitioners and is associated with a range of improved patient outcomes.23 Recent policy in the UK has sought to achieve a balance between access and continuity by introducing a named accountable GP for each patient. This policy was first introduced for patients aged 75 and over, to provide personalised care to keep older people healthy and out of hospital.45 Therefore, the study by Barker and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.j84), which examines the association between continuity of primary care and admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions …

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