Reducing hospital admissions by improving continuity of care in general practice.

Document type
Deeny, Sarah; Gardner, Tim; Al-Zaidy, Sally; Barker, Isaac; and Steventon, Adam.
Health Foundation
Date of publication
1 February 2017
Health Services, Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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This briefing observes that although continuity of care is an aspect of general practice valued by patients and GPs alike, it seems to be in decline in England. The authors note that a need exists for better coordinated care, particularly because of the growing prevalence of long-term conditions and an increasing number of frail and older people. They examine the link between continuity of care and hospital admissions for older patients in England for conditions that could potentially be prevented through effective treatment in primary care. They estimate that if patients saw their most frequently seen GP two more times out of every 10 consultations, this would be associated with a 6% decrease in admissions. They propose that clinical commissioning groups and NHS England Area Teams could work with general practices to support quality improvement initiatives that maintain or improve continuity of care. In conclusion, they recommend that future national initiatives should have a well-developed understanding of how and why policies will affect continuity in a specific context.

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