Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

General practice compliance study: is it worth being a personal doctor?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 11 April 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1192
  1. P R Ettlinger,
  2. G K Freeman


    While lip service is paid to the concept of the personal doctor in British general practice, little evidence is available to show that personal doctoring improves patient care. The hypothesis that close identification with a general practitioner leads to better drug compliance was therefore tested. One hundred and nineteen patients from two health centres who were prescribed an antimicrobial drug for a new episode of illness were visited at home four or five days after the prescription was given and their compliance with the prescription and identification with their doctor assessed. Compliance with the prescription was found to be strongly associated with whether the patient thought that he knew the prescribing doctor well. It is suggested that more attention is paid to consultation technique, particularly with new patients. One way of improving compliance may be for patients to see the same general practitioner using a personal list system. Further studies are needed for patients taking long-term treatment, especially hypotensive drugs.