Continuity of care

Male Doctor checking heart beat of female patient with sethoscopeRelational continuity of care is the extent to which patients see the same clinicians over time. It is a core feature of general practice. It is linked to trust in the doctor, patient satisfaction and better health outcomes. especially for older patients, those with long-term conditions and the vulnerable. Relational continuity has been declining for many years. Contributing factors are thought to include growth in practice size, more part-time working, greater staff and patient turnover. It may also be because practice policies have focused on access, rather than continuity. The NIHR-funded research project, Quantifying, Understanding & Enhancing Relational Continuity of Care (QUERCC) is investigating continuity of care in primary care.

Theme leads

Tom Marshall

Theme lead
Professor Tom Marshall

Professor of Public Health and Primary Care

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  • To understand how best to measure relational continuity of care in primary care.
  • To investigate the contribution of practice characteristics to relational continuity of care. These include staff turnover, part-time working, practice size and practice funding per patient.
  • To identify general practices which maintain high levels of relational continuity of care and understand how they do so.
  • To estimate the effects of changes in relational continuity of care on health care use, such as unplanned hospital admissions.
To develop practical guidance on how to improve to improve continuity of care.

Meet the team


Professor Tom Marshall -