Polyclinics “undermine patient trust”

A press release landed on my desk reporting that research carried out at the University of Leicester and the School of Psychology, suggests that polyclinics and super-surgeries are likely to undermine trust and cooperation between patients and their GPs.

The findings showed that past experience with a particular GP and expectation of continuing care from the same GP in the future are associated with patient trust and cooperation.

http://www.alphagalileo.org/index.cfm?_rss=1&fuseaction=readrelease&releaseid=532323

The problem is – I think – that the NHS (and the politicians) is wedded to a one solution for everyone service.

While someone seeking long term medical care would benefit from seeing the same doctor regularly, the average person with occasional illnesses or seeking advice would probably not really care who dispenses the advice, so long as it is accurate.

I was recently asked who “my GP” is, and I haven’t got the faintest idea what his name is, and I haven’t seen him for several years, although I have been to the doctor surgery a couple of times since then. Each time I saw someone different and it didn’t bother me in the slightest.

I do however know my hospital consultant as I see him every 3 months – although he admits that he only remembers me when he pulls out my medical file a week before our appointment.

The chances of a GP I haven’t spoken to for years remembering me are slight – so where is this famed “personal relationship” which people say is so important?

I am not sure why a polyclinic (or whatever) can’t offer both services:

a) The “I don’t care who I see, just give me pills and send home to bed” service.

b) The “I am a regular and I would prefer to book my preferred doctor” service.

It seems odd that, as it currently seems – that we can’t offer choice and let the patient decide how close a relationship they want with their registered GP.

Incidentally, the survey was based on people who had recently visited the doctor – which would sway the results to include a high percentage of “regular users” of the doctors service. I would like to see a survey which includes people who haven’t been to their doctor for ages, as I suspect their priorities are very different.

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