Much is made of continuity of care, but little time is spent examining its weaknesses and exploring the alternatives. In the first of a two-part series, Dr Sara Chambers helps put continuity into context.
I was recently asked a question by an eminent GP and academic researcher: “How often does a “fresh pair of eyes” really benefit patients?” And I think it’s an interesting question on several levels. There’s so much to say that this will be a two article series. In this first article, I shall give clinical examples from day to day locum work of differences that I perceive I make as a locums to the individual patients I come across. I invite you to add your own. In the second article, coming in the New Year, I’ll look at deeper structural themes of how the “fresh pairs of eyes” of locums could be used to bring about wider system changes that could ensure greater continuity of the right type and at the right time for all patients.
The question was prompted by an article I wrote for the NASGP in 2103 – Does continuity of care need a reality check? – which explored the different types of continuity – relationship continuity vs continuity of patient management and information flow – how they are often confused; whether there might be potential disadvantages of relationship continuity and whether there might be benefits to seeing different doctors – the “fresh pair of eyes” scenario.