Increasing Continuity of Care in General Practice

A programme to fund targeted quality improvement work to increase continuity in GP practices

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This programme is now closed for expressions of interest.

  • Inspired by recent Health Foundation research which demonstrated that patients with ambulatory care sensitive conditions who see the same GP a greater proportion of the time have fewer unplanned hospital admissions. 
  • Programme to explore the potential for general practice to increase continuity of care for its patients and improve their care. 
  • Supporting five projects for up to two years from January 2019.

We awarded five large-scale GP practices and federations grants of up to £250,000 over 12-24 months to carry out targeted quality improvement work to increase continuity in their practices. We understand the pressures faced by professionals working in general practice and wanted to know whether an increased focus on continuity of care can help bring benefits to both staff and patients.   

Programme offer

  • funding for up to 24 months
  • support with data analysis commissioned by the Health Foundation
  • project evaluation commissioned by the Health Foundation
  • technical support to help with project delivery.

To make sure our funding programme supports work in primary care, we wanted to find out how continuity is defined. So far, our understanding of continuity is:

  • Relational continuity – the same professional seeing the same patient over a period of time.
  • Informational continuity – professionals having access to accurate, up to date, patient records. 
  • Managerial continuity – a system which enables timely and efficient handovers of care between individual clinicians, teams, and organisations.

Some of our ideas for projects included delivering continuity through sub-team working, identifying and targeting continuity at specific cohorts of patients who may specifically benefit from this approach or using digital technology to increase continuity. 

We were interested in working with practices who have a commitment to solving this problem, experience of delivering quality improvement projects and a culture of evaluation and learning within their organisation.

This programme has been developed with the advice and support of the Royal College of General Practitioners:

‘Continuity of care is a critical element of general practice, in particular continuity of the personal relationship between patients and their general practitioner. The RCGP strongly supports this programme which will give us new insights into how best to deliver continuity in an increasingly challenging environment.’ 
Professor Martin Marshall, Vice-Chair External Affairs, Royal College of General Practitioners.

Contact details

If you have any questions please email the Continuity of Care programme team at the Health Foundation.

Further reading

Journal article

Association between continuity of care in general practice and hospital admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions: cross sectional study of routinely collected person level data

Objective: To assess whether continuity of care with a general practitioner is associated with hospital admissions for ambula...

Invitation to tender

ITT: Support partner for the Continuity of Care in General Practice programme

We are seeking a supplier to work with us to support learning and dissemination within the Continuity of Care in general prac...

Apply now

Relational continuity for general practice patients with new and changing symptoms

Improvement project

This project use data analysis to identify healthy patients with new or changing symptoms who may benefit from continuity, and will implement operational systems that support people to achieve continu...

How well do I know and trust my doctor?

Improvement project

This project involves introducing team-based models of primary care in which micro-teams take responsibility for a group of patients and share their care.

Continuity by design

Improvement project

This project aims to help patients to develop a therapeutic relationship with their preferred clinician by introducing micro-teams and implementing systems that match clinical capacity to demand.

Improving continuity of care for patients in South Cumbria

Improvement project

This project will involve identifying, testing and implementing practical and digital innovations (such as micro-teams, online consulting methods, and consistent coding and record keeping) across mult...

Continuity counts

Improvement project

This project will introduce interventions including a continuity toolkit, measurement methods and promotional materials that will increase commitment to continuity in practice staff and patients.

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