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  • 1 April 2017 to 31 October 2017
  • Project No: 345
  • Funding round: FR 13

Older patients who suffer with many long-term diseases (like heart disease, diabetes and dementia) are an important group. Their health problems are usually more complex than other patients’ and they often need more care from GPs. They are also more likely to be admitted to hospital as emergency cases. This can be distressing for these patients and costly for the NHS.

As the number of older patients with long-term diseases rises, finding ways to provide better care for them in general practice becomes more important. The NHS in England has made reducing emergency admissions to hospital for this group a priority. Making it easier for such patients to see a GP who knows them well (improving continuity of care) may help achieve this.

Research in other countries suggests that older patients with many long-term conditions who mainly see a GP who knows them well have lower levels of emergency hospital admission. In this study we will use data from a research database of anonymised GP records to find out whether this is also true in England. We also aim to find out whether patients who get better continuity of care live longer and to find the best way of measuring continuity of care from GP records. Study findings will inform strategies to improve continuity of care for older medically complex patients in the NHS.

Amount awarded: £27,500