Seeing different doctors ‘hurts health of elderly’
ELDERLY people who are passed around different GPS may be at a greater risk of being admitted to hospital with surprise medical conditions.
A survey of 10,000 patients by Bristol University found those unable to see the same family doctor were more than twice as likely to require emergency admission.
Experts believe that patients having to repeat their medical history to each new practitioner wastes valuable minutes meaning symptoms of serious illness go undetected.
The research, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, comes amid the increasing conglomeration of GP surgeries into so-called “super-practices”, which is expected to cut the chances of seeing the same doctor.
Researchers looked at data relating to patients aged 65 and older across 297 practices from 2010 to 2015, which they cross-referenced with hospital records. They focused on older patients as they see their GP more frequently and are most at risk of emergency hospital admission.
Dr Peter Tammes, who led the research, said: “Discontinuity of care reduces the opportunity for building trust and mutual responsibility between doctors and patients.
“If you see the same doctor, you don’t have to repeat your history every time and it gives you more time to discuss your condition.”
He added that patients are often reticent in describing the full extent of their unhealthy behaviours, such as heavy drinking, to unfamiliar doctors.
“If there is trust, the patient is much more willing to share more information,” he said.
♦almost half of over-65s in England are taking at least five different drugs a day, a Cambridge University study has found. The figure has risen from just 12 per cent 20 years ago, while the proportion taking no pills at all dropped from around 20 per cent in the late 1990s to just seven per cent today.