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LMCs call for longer appointments to ease GP work pressures

Grassroots GPs called on the GPC to campaign for practices to have longer appointments and reduce the number of patients they see in a day, in the opening motion of today’s Special LMC Conference.

The motion, which stated that ‘current working practices may be a risk to patients’ care and GPs’ health’ was carried unanimously.

However, delegates voted down the part calling for the GPC to campaign for a reduction in core hours, after GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said this was a ‘bit of a red herring’. 

Delegates did however call for the GPC to campaign for measures ‘such as an increase in the duration of routine GP appointments to at least 15 minutes’ and ‘a restriction of patient contacts per day to a level comparable to other EU countries’.

Dr Helena McKeown, from Wiltshire LMC, who proposed the motion on behalf of the conference agenda committee, said: ‘The relentless appointment treadmill of brief consultations leaves us feeling deeply dissatisfied, worried that we’ve missed something and frustrated along with our patients.

‘Stress is the key reason so many of us intend to split, the relentless demand is a threat to our own health and our patients’ safety’.

On the reduction of core hours, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘It’s not about the core hours reduction, it’s about our workload; it’s not about GPs working every minute of those core hours, it’s about how hard we work, how many patients we see and working in a way that means we can do our jobs properly – so that should not be the focus of our efforts’.

The motion that was passed

Agenda Committee, proposed by Wiltshire – That conference, gravely concerned by the intensity at which GPs are working, believes that current working practices may be a risk to patients’ care and GPs’health, and calls for GPC to campaign for safe working practices such as:

i) an increase in the duration of routine GP appointments to at least 15 minutes

ii) a restriction of patient contacts per day to a level comparable to other EU countries

Readers' comments (4)

  • It is GP contract holders who determine appointment length (except for in extended hours when they are specified as 15 minutes!) So if they want to do 15 minutes, there is nothing stopping them.
    Why on Earth are they asking for micromanagement of the way appointments are offered? The current contracts are block contracts which demand that all patient needs are met. By mandating 15 minute appointmsnts, flexibility of working would be lost and patients would expect 50% more bang for their buck!
    This is the most counterproductive motion they could have put forward.

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  • longer appointments = less appointment slots.

    eg 180 surgery with 10 min appointments = 18 slots (most gps i know overrun as patients bring multiple issues)

    if we move to 15 mins appointments then 180/15 = 12 slots.

    less slots = less availability.

    bottom line is if you want to address demand - increase number of slots i.e. more GPs or reduce demand (i.e. we move to payment by activity)

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  • Take 30 minutes per appointment or 40 etc. Provide enough appointments. The 2 do not mix. Define safety GPC. You keep saying we are over worked not enough time, too many appointments etc. Define what is safe. That is your brief What is safe? 25 patients, 10 hours, define please. But you never do. All you can keep saying and we are quite sick of it, is unsafe,dangerous,overworked etc. Define safety.

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  • Wow. I've never heard so much rubbish, hostility, negativity from highly paid, highly educated and at the moment highly respected professionals.
    Who are you people

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