A total of 399 GPs from France, the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain took part in a poll carried out by researchers Stethos for the French general practice magazine Le Generaliste.
It found only those in Spain were more willing to delegate to other professionals in their practice (85 per cent compared with 69.6 per cent in the UK, Germany 53.2 per cent, Italy 40 per cent and France 35.8 per cent) while UK GPs were the most likely to work in networks with paramedics.
UK GPs were also the least concerned about patients having a consultation with them before seeing a pharmacist or being hospitalised.
Just over 15 per cent also claimed it should not be mandatory to see a GP before seeing a specialist, compared with 17 per cent in France, 11 per cent in Spain, 6 per cent in Germany and 2.5 per cent in Italy.
A third of UK GPs saw their primary role as providing continuity of care and long term monitoring of pathologies compared with just over a quarter who said it was to act as the patient’s initial contact with the healthcare system.
GPs in France and Italy viewed their main role as providing a comprehensive approach to patient care while the Spanish felt it should be providing a first point of contact with the health service.
London GP Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the results showed the evolution of UK general practice which had moved on from merely a ‘gatekeeping’ role.
‘Primary care here now provides an enormous range of responses to patient needs which is prompting higher delegation and greater teamwork. It also provides the bulk of chronic disease management, compared to the rest of Europe where it is still largely treated in hospitals.’
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