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Calls for longer appointments will ultimately backfire

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‘Ten-minute appointments are an anachronism, doctors agree’.

No, they don’t. At least, this one doesn’t.

There are definitely patients I would not wish to spend more than 10 minutes with, for reasons of sanity, safety and the limitations of air freshener.

Besides, the welcome relief that is a pill check or sick note request would, in a world of 15-, 20- or even 30-minute appointments, leave me with useless fragments of redundant time – too long to spend retrieving debris from my keyboard crevices with an unbent paperclip, but not long enough for paperwork or a caffeine fix.

True, I can see where the BMA is coming from, and, on this occasion, I don’t mean a padded cell. Pitching for longer consultations is simply a way of supporting their argument to bolster our workforce. Fair enough.

On the other hand, ultimately it’ll backfire. As we move from 10 to 15 to 30 minutes, the Government will simply dream up more things for us to be ‘ideally placed for’, and they’ll be even more inane than the ones they’ve come up with already.

So we’ll still be hamsters madly running around, getting nowhere. It’ll simply be a bigger wheel.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him attonycopperfield@hotmail.comand follow him on Twitter@DocCopperfield.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I made an appointment with my GP a few weeks ago only to find that the appointment had reduced from 10 to 8 minutes!

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  • You can't do QOF and the patient's agenda in 10 minutes - it's the road to burn-out or missing things. Here in Oz it's nearly always 15 mins, but 30mins encouraged for mental health or patients with lists. The punters get sorted out properly, happy doctors too, and better income than in the UK.

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder