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Patient trust undermined by polyclinics

23rd September 2008

According to a study by Leicester University, the government's plan for polyclinics could adversely affect "trust between the patient and GP".

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Researchers spoke to 236 patients regarding whether they saw the same GP each time they visited their local surgery.

They discovered that patients who visited the same GP said they trusted their doctor and took the full course of any medication they were prescribed.

The polyclinic plan will see different types of health workers housed in the same place. The health service intends to install 150 polyclinics outside the capital, in addition to a large number within London.

The study asked patients from three GP surgeries to allocate marks for "the trust they felt" in the GP they had a consultation with on their last visit. 150 patients reported seeing their regular GP, while the remainder had seen another doctor.

The researchers also interviewed 20 patients and 12 GPs. Patients who saw their regular GP allocated a "trust rating" of 83.5 out of 100. Those who visited another doctor gave them 72.6.

Lead researcher Carolyn Tarrant said the government's plan to set up polyclinics was "bound to reduce continuity of care and our research shows that this may lead to a decline in patient trust."

"If patient trust declines, then medical outcomes may be adversely affected."

 

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