If patients see the same doctor every time they visit a surgery, the NHS could save a staggering £1.42billion, claims a Manchester University report.
The cost of treatment could be reduced by up to 18% through investment in primary and community-based services.
Research carried out in conjuction with Bristol, University College London and Oxford said that high-risk patients will benefit the most from regular contact with the same GP.
Dr Kath Checkland, from the Centre for Primary Care at the University of Manchester, said: “The report recommends that, for patients in high-risk group, there should be a targeted increase in continuity of care with GPs.
“These include older patients, those from poorer backgrounds and those suffering from multiple conditions.”
Patients who live in deprived areas are also at the greatest risk of requiring emergency care.
Hospitals such as Wythenshawe have seen a ‘significant’ rise in A&E admissions that questioning their ability to function efficiently.
Research leader Dr Sarah Purdy, of The University of Bristol said: “GP Practices serving the most deprived populations have emergency admission rates that are around 60% higher than those serving the least deprived populations.”
The review is the most comprehensive of its kind to date and included 44 different studies and spanned multiple countries.
National Clinical Director for Urgent Care for NHS England Professor Jonathan Benger said “There is a well-recognised need to improve urgent care in England.
“This report will help to inform both commissioners and providers of care regarding the relationship between general practice, accident and emergency department attendance and emergency hospital admission.”
Findings have already been put to use in the ongoing review of emergency care led by NHS England’s Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, according to Professor Benger.
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