The purpose of the present study was to develop and pilot test a questionnaire to assess continuity of care from the perspective of patients with diabetes. Seven patient and two healthcare-provider focus groups were conducted. These focus groups generated 777 potential items. This number was reduced to 56 items after item reduction, face validity testing and readability analysis, and to 47 items after a preliminary factor analysis. Readability was assessed as requiring 7-8 years of schooling. Sixty adult patients with diabetes completed the draft Diabetes Continuity of Care Scale (DCCS) at a single point in time to assess the validity of the instrument. Patients completed the draft DCCS again 2 weeks later to assess test-retest reliability. A provisional factor analysis and grouping according to clinical sense yielded five domains: access and getting care, care by doctor, care by other healthcare professionals, communication between healthcare professionals, and self-care. The internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) for the whole scale was 0.89. The test-retest reliability was r = 0.73. The DCCS total score was moderately correlated with some of the measures used to establish construct validity. The DCCS could differentiate between patients who did and did not achieve specific process and clinical indicators of good diabetes care (e.g. Hba1c tested within 6 months). The development of the DCCS was centred on the patient's perspective and revealed that the patient perspective regarding continuity of care extends beyond the concept of seeing one doctor. Initial testing of this instrument demonstrates that it has promise as a reliable and valid measure in this area.