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Independents' Day

GPs to spend four hours a week longer seeing patients by 2022 to meet demand

Exclusive GPs will have to devote more than an extra session a week seeing patients just to keep up with patient demand by 2022 unless there are radical changes, a major Pulse analysis has revealed.

The analysis also revealed that the Conservative Party’s aim to increase the GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020 will not be enough to keep up with demand, and GPs will still need to work two hours a week longer.

GP leaders have said that GPs can’t work any longer hours, and as a result waiting times will ‘rocket’ due to the increased demand.

Pulse looked at increases in patient demand and patient population to project how many hours GPs will have to work by the end of the next parliament to maintain current waiting times, after various studies found that patients are having to see their GP more often - including a study by the King’s Fund yesterday.

The analysis found that with no increase in GP numbers, or success in reducing the number of unnecessary appointments, it would require GPs to see patients 28 hours a week to meet demand – not including the administration involved – up from 24 hours per week currently.

If the next Government is successfully in finding 5,000 extra GPs by 2020, then GPs would still have to see patients more than 25 hours a week just to maintain current waiting times.

However, GP workforce numbers have decreased in the past year, suggesting that even these efforts will be unsuccessful.

The one measure that would allow GPs to cut their workload is if NHS England is successful is eliminating the 27% of appointments it estimates are ‘unnecessary’.

However, Pulse has already revealed that these efforts have so far been unsuccessful, with CCGs unable to stop hospitals dumping work on GPs and a £30m programme to share good practice failing to resonate with grassroots GPs.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, says: ‘There is no way any GP can work harder. Eight in ten GPs say they cannot provide safe care. We need to reduce workload. If we carry on like this, we won’t have any GPs working. GPs are unwilling to put up with intolerable workload.’

It comes as Pulse reports today that the average waiting time for routine GP appointments is now 13 days.

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Figures box - June 2017 issue cover story

Readers' comments (17)

  • I am afraid if this happens in my late forties as a 9 session GP by 2022 I will be out of ,or severely reduce my commitment, to this mess.Sadly I'm not well enough to emigrate.If nothing is done this is an underestimate.There is a good chance of primary care being dead.As a loyal(or stupid) regular payer of subs to the BMA and RCGP I am bitterly disappointed at their collusion/efforts to lead the profession.This will definitely be the last year I throw my very hard earned money in the direction of these busted flushes.

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  • Rogue1

    Totally agree, all the partners at my large practice (where I am a patient) have already gone part-time. The numbers will be the same, but the work will be less not more?!
    They need to move to a co-payment system, where people top-up, so it isn't free at the point of use. That will crystalise the mind and put some control back. In Eire they usu pay 50 Euro per GP appt, so something similar here?

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  • We are planning further reduction in hours having gone down from 4 hr morning sessions to 3 hrs and stopping the Extended hours service for the young employed as NHSE pays you only for 4/10 young patients you take on and expect you to make up working double hard providing extended hours. A middle finger is not my way of doing showing contempt for the bullies but this finger is developing a bad itch.

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  • That equates to about 20 hours when the lack of safe hospital follow up is factored in.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    No I wont. The state of the NHS isn't my problem. This is a job not a social punishment. I no longer care if patients have to wait weeks to see me. If the Tories win the election its because the british public have voted again for austerity and want an under funded NHS. You get what you ask for in life. Not my problem.

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  • Not going to happen.even were there enough incoming gps able and up for putting in the long hours for a while for a better financial start or whatever,four hours more patient appointments will generate at least another 2 hour's paperwork / consultation -related activities such as phoning/liaising /secretarial time/reception time /followup investigations,prescribing and referral budget increases etc.
    These figures seem to be calculated as though an appointment was simply a 10 minute unit of gp time , then done with-not the potential start of an nhs treatment journey needing all of the above.

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  • It is getting bad.Poor GPs.All shit is being put on them.

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  • Cobblers

    What, is there going to be a NHS GP service in 2022?

    Unless something radical happens (and there are no signs) it'll be over by 2020 or before.

    One doesn't need 20/20 vision to see that. :-)

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  • GP 's are like the Kulaks. If you resist collectivisation you will be exterminated as a class.

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  • received my MDU bill today. Has jumped from £8500 to £10000 (8 session bog standard GP, no frills, no complaints). Thats more than two months income just on insurance. Its getting too expensive to bother to work any longer, and extra hours mean extra bills. Government gave us £500 to cover the £1500 rise.

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