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The relationship between family doctors and patients must be restored and made central, the Health and Social Care Committee said. It found ministers and NHS leaders had failed to heed its importance amid a growing shortage of GPs.
Committee member Rachael Maskell said: “Our inquiry has heard time and again the benefits of continuity of care to a patient with evidence linking it to reduced mortality and emergency admissions.
“Yet that important relationship with patients is in decline.
“We find it unacceptable that one of the defining standards of general practice has been allowed to erode and our report today sets out a series of measures to reverse that decline.”
The MPs’ report, out today, said the GP system should “allow a cradle-to-grave relationship with patients not possible for other specialities”.
But growing pressure on surgeries made it less likely people would see the same doctor regularly, making them more likely to end up in A&E. The MPs recommend bringing in a system to measure continuity of care at all GP practices by 2024.
Ms Maskell added: “Seeing your GP should not be as random as booking an Uber with a driver you’re unlikely to see again.
“With doctors demoralised and overworked, the numbers recruited not matching those heading for the door. A reluctance by Government and NHS England to acknowledge this crisis cannot continue and ministers must set out how they intend to protect patient safety in the short term.”
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We need to see urgent action taken, not just to increase recruitment into general practice, but to keep GPs in the profession longer, delivering patient care on the front line and not bogged down in unnecessary bureaucracy.”
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