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Table 6 Why does personal continuity matter from the general practitioner's perspective?

From: Personal continuity and access in UK general practice: a qualitative study of general practitioners' and patients' perceptions of when and how they matter

'I think it's more important when people have say, a malignant condition or, a serious illness, a chronic illness.'
Dr U
'I think it's most important for patients with ongoing illnesses for regular follow-up to be seen by the same person. The advantage of patients with ongoing illnesses seeing the same doctor is that hopefully you are already familiar with their pattern of illness, how it affects them, how they normally react to it, what a given symptom might mean to them.'
Dr M
"I think most people staying with the same doctor, I think it helps. If you have a bit of background knowledge to people it will help you solve ... the problem a little bit quicker."
Dr C
'Continuity of care is knowing the case and I think that's, it's particularly important in general practice because a lot of these things are not just to do with medical facts. But sometimes that's important that a patient will only see me, because when they see somebody else ... if things have gone off a bit you know, twenty five different drugs, where the hell do you start if you're seeing somebody else's patient like that, whereas your own, you probably can. So there's those sort of complicated patients, complicated in a technical medical sense. But also a lot of general practice is people explaining who they are, what they are, and what they're looking for out of the consultation. Particularly if they're kind of, either eccentric people or awkward people or whatever, then coming to a doctor who understands that is important.'
Dr P
'And ultimately, I mean the job gets better because the longer you're in a practice, the sense of familiarity with it all and continuity, you know, it's nice seeing patients and their families coming in. ... It makes it more interesting when you can see the same problem happening, or you know where they've come from, you know how well they've done in life.'
Dr S