GP workload mostly managing chronic illness

The University of Bristol has studied the epidemiology of multiple chronic illnesses to determine the impact of “multimorbidity” on general practice consultations.

Information was obtained from a random sample of nearly 10,000 adults in the General Practice Research Database. Depending on the method used, 16–58% of the patients had more than one chronic illness.

Patients living in deprived areas were more likely to have multiple problems. Compared to the least deprived areas, those in the most deprived areas were twice as likely to have multimorbidity.

The prevalence of multimorbidity increased with age. It was found in 44% of patients over 75 years old, with 9% of this age group having four or more problems.

Multimorbidity raised the annual consultation rate to 9.35, compared to the overall consultation rate of 4.63. Patients with multimorbidity accounted for 32–78% of all consultations. The GPs dealt with an