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  • Run by the Morecambe Bay Primary Care Collaborative.
  • Focused on South Cumbria GP practices and patients.
  • Aimed to test ways GP practices could help patients to see their preferred GP in order to improve continuity of care and clinical outcomes, reduce hospital use, and increase patient and staff satisfaction.
  • Led to the development of comprehensive tools to help GP practices improve and measure continuity of care.

Relationships between patients and clinicians build over time, and high-quality GP care uses deep contextual knowledge of patients, their families and social situations. There is substantial evidence that continuity of care has benefits for patients and GPs. However, the number of patients able to see or speak to their preferred GP is falling.

This project aimed to address this by understanding current approaches within GP practices and then to test and refine ways to improve continuity of care through helping patients to see their preferred GP, and then sharing this leaning more widely.

Five local GP practices were initially recruited to the project. As five more practices were about to be recruited, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, significantly changing the way general practice worked.

Despite this, the project has started to make a real difference. NHS Survey results for four out of the five initial practices involved in the project showed significant improvements in the level of continuity reported by patients between 2018 and 2020, which is in contrast to national and local results, which saw a reduction in reported continuity.

Tools have been developed to continue to support practices. The Continuity of Care Toolkit, a comprehensive resource which is freely available on the Royal College of General Practitioners’ website, is a consolidation of learning from this project and the One Care project. The Morecambe Bay Continuity of Care Dashboard helps practices measure and understand levels of continuity, showing changes over time. It also provides data to model a responsible GP for patients based on existing continuity, enacted by a robotic programme.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact:

  • Hugh Reeve, GP Partner and Federation Director, Morecambe Bay Primary Care Collaborative
  • Jo Knight, Quality Service Improvement Facilitator, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay

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