Personal continuity and the quality of GP consultations: Knowing the doctor or having a regular doctor?

G. Freeman, J. Walker, David James Heaney, J. Howie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To find out how a consulting process measure (consultation duration) and one aspect of immediate outcome (patient enablement) are related to personal/relational continuity (how well the patient knows the doctor) in a geographically and professionally diverse sample of general practices.

Methods: A cross-sectional multi-practice questionnaire study set in a random sample of practices in four participating districts in Britain. The participants were 221 GPs in 53 practices consulted by 25,994 patients over a two-week period in March and April 1998.

Results: “Knowing the doctor well” was significantly associated with better patient enablement but “seeing the regular doctor today” was not significantly associated. Patients in practices which encouraged them to see the same doctor or which operated a strict personal list system were not more enabled than those in other practices of similar size.

Conclusions: This confirms that nature and quality of the patient-doctor relationship is more important than merely seeing the same doctor each time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of General Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • continuity of care
  • general practice
  • patient doctor relationship
  • personal continuity
  • qulaity measurement
  • consultation length


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