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Fam Med. 2004 Jan;36(1):51-4.

Family medicine trainees still value continuity of care.

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Department of General Practice, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Continuity of care in family medicine is under pressure due to an increase in part-time work, delegation of tasks, and the development of walk-in centers. It is uncertain to what extent newly qualified professionals value personal continuity. Insight into trainees' views may be helpful for training purposes and for improving continuity of care for patients in the future. We explored trainees' views on continuity for hypothetical scenarios and related these to personal characteristics and trainers' views.


We sent a questionnaire to all trainees and trainers of the eight family medicine training institutes in The Netherlands.


The response rate was 595/1048 (57%) for trainees and 478/776 (62%) for trainers. Trainees attached more importance to continuity than trainers. Both highly valued continuity for serious problems, such as discussing the future when seriously ill (99% and 97%, respectively) and valued it low for minor problems, such as an episode of flu (14% and 6%, respectively). Trainees' views were barely related to the views of their personal trainers and to personal characteristics such as age, gender, and training faculty to a minor extent only.


The new generation of professionals still value continuity of care. It may remain one of the basic features of general practice in the future.

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