Since forming Concierge Medical Practice in 2013, we have sought to advance our unique brand and the service we provide. We have, however, taken some time to reflect on our achievements so far and we now know that two thirds of new clients who join us do so via ‘word of mouth’ referrals from existing members. That pleases us immensely. The remaining third tend to join us having experienced frustrations with the existing health service. It might be that they’ve been unable to secure an appointment on the day they needed it or that they’ve struggled with the NHS 111 service at nights or weekends. Increasingly though, we are hearing that clients are exasperated with the inability to receive continuity of care.
Continuity of care happens when a patient and doctor see each other repeatedly and get to know each other well. Recreating a traditional family doctor role was a key driver in the genesis of Concierge Medical so that we could provide the ongoing care sought by clients. Our service is not merely to facilitate the rapid access to a doctor but to allow rapid access to your own doctor, someone you have developed a rapport and relationship with over time. Someone who knows you, your family and your medical history. Someone who is, and will continue to be, your advocate. Our customer satisfaction surveys confirm its importance. It also produces a more rewarding, and safer, working environment for our doctors. Continuity of care leads to better communication, higher levels of patient satisfaction and adherence to medical advice. From both client and doctor perspective, continuity of care intuitively feels right.
But does it have any other benefits? Well, yes it does. Huge benefits as you’ll see.
In June 2018, the British Medical Journal published a paper from The University of Exeter’s medical school. They examined twenty two studies which correlated the relationship between continuity of care and death rates. Eighteen of the studies concluded that repeated contact with the same doctor resulted in ‘significantly fewer’ deaths in that patient group. Sir Denis Pereira Gray, a GP involved in the project, noted “Until now, arranging for patients to see the doctor of their choice has been considered a matter of convenience or courtesy. Now it is clear it is about the quality of medical practice and is literally a matter of life or death”
In addition to the death rate statistics, it has also been shown that continuity of care halved the need for emergency admissions to hospital. In the early stages of an illness, the precise diagnosis can be unclear. However, with open channels of communication between doctor and patient, we’re always able to reappraise, reassess and change treatment plans as needed. This avenue is infrequently available elsewhere. “NHS general practice is currently facing intense resource and workforce pressures” which makes continuity of care increasingly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to achieve. It is, however, the very cornerstone of the service offered by our service and one of many reasons why more and more clients are switching to Concierge Medical.
Concierge Medical is the UK’s first and only Concierge Medical Practice. Concierge Medical is an award-winning, private GP service which has been providing round-the-clock comprehensive healthcare to members in the Cotswolds, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire since 2013. It is registered with, and has been inspected by, the Care Quality Commission and has shown sustained growth in both doctor and member numbers since it commenced practice. Dr Simon Gillson, co-founder and Medical Director says: “Our core business will always be to provide a traditional family doctor service with a modern twist and we will always act as our members advocates. If you are looking for complete peace of mind, with true continuity of care, please get in touch.”