The ageing population and increasing prevalence of chronic illness have contributed to the need for significant primary care reform, including increased use of multidisciplinary care and task substitution. This cross-sectional study explores conditions under which older patients would accept having health professionals other than their general practitioner (GP) involved in their care for chronic disease management (CDM). Ten practices were randomly sampled from a contiguous major city and inner regional area. Questionnaires were distributed to consecutive patients aged 60 years and over in each practice. Agency theory was used to inform analyses. Statistical analysis was undertaken using Wald’s test, growth modelling and linear regression, controlling for the clustered design. The response rate was 53% (n = 272). Most respondents (79%) had at least one chronic health condition. Respondents were more comfortable with GP than with practice nurse management in the CDM scenario (Wald’s test = 105.49, P < 0.001). Comfort with practice nurse CDM was positively associated with increased contact with their GP at the time of the visit (β = 0.41, P < 0.001), negatively associated with the number of the respondent’s chronic conditions (β = –0.13, P = 0.030) and not associated with the frequency of other health professional visits. Agency theory suggests that patients employ continuity of care to optimise factors important in CDM: information symmetry and goal alignment. Our findings are consistent with the theory and lend support to ensuring that interpersonal continuity of care is not lost in health care reform. Further research exploring patients’ acceptance of differing systems of care is required.