Following on from her previous article Dis-continuity; putting care into context, Dr Sara Chambers explores the idea that sometimes continuity of care is deployed to paper over the cracks where ‘continuity of management’ and ‘information’ is lacking or even absent, and why the locum’s perspective needs to be part of a future solution.
None of the value that I believe locums can bring detracts from the evidence that continuity of relationship is a vital tool in the armoury of general practice. Indeed, for some patients it will be the most important factor in their care. But it is not the only tool, and it favours no-one to over-emphasise relationship continuity as the key aspiration in general practice to the neglect of other factors, most importantly the systems that ensure continuity of management and information, which are the true backbone of good care for all patients, including the many who see different GPs.
And again, the experience of locums “being a fresh pair of eyes” has something to teach us about how we can improve our systems to ensure that all patients get the continuity they need.