Seeing the same GP at every appointment is far better for patients’ health, says retired Milton Keynes GP.
A respected city GP has called for a return of the old-fashioned surgeries where patients saw the same doctor for all their appointments.
Dr Mahendran, who worked for 29 years at Oakridge Park Medical Centre, is backing national calls for fewer locums and more full-time GPs.
His move follows research showing that seeing the same family doctor each time can halve the chance of early death of patients.
Dr Mahendran, who has recently retired, said many patients in MK see a different GP - often a locum - every time they visit their surgery.
“It is fair to say that the majority of practises in Milton Keynes are short of permanent staff and are reliant upon locums,” he said.
“Recruiting enough full-time GPs is a national problem. But it is time moves were made by the authorities and the patients themselves to improve the situation.”
A high percentage of newly-trained doctors are shunning permanent positions and opting for careers as locums, often through agencies.
“It involves far less stress and the pay is better. A locum can do 10 three-hour sessions a week and earn £10,000 a month. Often they earn more than the actual partners in the practice,” said Dr Mahendran.
He is convinced that patients prefer seeing the same familiar face of their GP each time they visit - and it’s better for their health too.
“They build up a relationship of trust. The GP knows their history and knows how to help them,” he said.
The average time allocated for a GP appointment is 10 minutes. When patients see different doctors or locums, valuable minutes are taken up explaining their problems.