A report by the college calls for greater continuity of care in general practice as the government considers axing practice boundaries, a move that could see practice lists change dramatically.
RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said: 'Patients rightly expect the best possible quality of care from their health service, and it is an accepted fact that continuity of care in general practice can be an important contributory factor to providing this.'
She added that, although the days of the 'traditional family doctor' may be over, the need for continuity in general practice is 'more important than ever'.
Extra work in management and commissioning should be rewarded and not seen as a 'spare-time activity'.
The report said GPs should lead the commissioning of out-of-hours care to ensure standards and continuity.
Practices should give patients clear information about how to get an appointment with their chosen doctor and when it is most important for their care that they do this, it said.