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Polyclinics “will lead to loss of trust in GPs”

26 September 2008

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New polyclinics and “super-surgeries” will undermine trust and co-operation between patients and their GPs, according to research.

A study from the University of Leicester looked at the relationships forged between patients and their doctors over time.

It found that patients develop trust in their GP by relying on past experiences and forming expectation of continuing care.

The new polyclinics will be staffed by large numbers of doctors, with patients unlikely to see the same doctor on every visit.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, concludes that the planned changes to the delivery of primary care in the UK are likely to reduce continuity of care.

One of the lead researchers, Dr Carolyn Tarrant, said: “The government is setting up numerous polyclinics, supersurgeries, and walk-in centres all over the country.

“I’m sure they will have various benefits for patients and GPs, but they are bound to reduce continuity of care, and our research shows that this may lead to a decline in patient trust. If patient trust declines, then medical outcomes may be adversely affected.”

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University of Leicester

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“Yes. The financial constraints of GP-led health centres means that patients will be treated by a different ‘skill mix’ or, in English, more highly qualified nurses and fewer senior doctors. Minor ailments can be treated with relatively few problems but long-term or chronic conditions will need the continuity of care that being with one practice can offer” – Name and address withheld