Continuity in relationship between doctor and patient
This report aims to examine whether changes regarding the scheme have impacted the public's access to primary healthcare services over time. The report highlights the progression of continuity between doctor and patient from 2006 to 2021.
A key objective behind the implementation of the regional general practitioner (RGP) scheme in Norway in 2001 was to establish a lasting and reliable relationship between doctor and patient. The aim was to provide all individuals a regular general practitioner to consult with. The scheme has since gained significant popularity across the country, with only a minimal number of people opting out. However, changes in the workload and recruitment to the scheme have caused concern regarding the accessibility and utilization of primary healthcare services.
This report aims to examine whether changes regarding the scheme have impacted the public's access to primary healthcare services over time. The report highlights the progression of continuity between doctor and patient from 2006 to 2021. The analyses were conducted both nationally, and broken down to centrality, county, and municipality size. Throughout the report, we compare the usage of primary healthcare services between residents with and without a regular general practitioner. The analyses are based on register data from the General Practitioner Register (FLO) and Control and Payment of Reimbursement to Health Service Providers (KUHR) and reveal the following:
As of the beginning of 2021, approximately 2% of individuals enrolled in the regional general practitioner scheme were on a list without a regular general practitioner. However, this proportion varies significantly by county and centrality. While most residents of Oslo and Viken were registered on a list with an assigned GP, the service was less available to residents of non-central areas, and the problem appears to be worsening. Nonetheless, we discovered that residents without a GP utilized primary healthcare services only marginally less than those with a GP (2.9 versus 3.3 consultations per resident in 2021). Additionally, we found that residents without a GP still experienced continuity of care. A large percentage of their consultations were with the same physician. Nevertheless, our analyses indicate significant geographic disparities. In particular, those residing in the least central municipalities experience less continuity of primary healthcare.