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Gold, incentives and meh

Five steps to 15 minute appointments (1 CPD hour)

Dr Sarah Bruml provides a guide to an appointments system that has reduced GP stress and proven popular with patients


Full CPD module


This module will offer a suggested five-step plan to introducing 15-minute appointments, based on the case study of one practice that has offered longer appointments for around eight years.

The module covers:

  • Research and discussion of a possible scheme within the partnership
  • Running a trial
  • Extending the scheme and adapting it over time
  • The challenges and benefits of the 15-minute scheme

After reading this article you should also look at the data Dr Bruml and a trainee compiled on their access system. Click here to see the resource.

You will be asked to record your learning points and some action points to earn a suggested 1 CPD credit. Below are some suggested questions to reflect on as you work through the module:

  1. What are you and your partners’ views on the success of your current access scheme?
  2. Do you know how often and how long surgeries over-run on average?
  3. How would offering longer appointments affect your practice business? How would you model a pilot of this scheme? (If you already offer longer appointments, how could you adapt access to make your system more productive?)
  4. Benefits from longer appointments at Dr Bruml’s surgery included reduced over-running, improved patient satisfaction, improved QOF score and better doctor-patient relations. DO you think your surgery might be able to achieve any of these benefits through longer appointments?
  5. If you don’t offer longer appointments yet, what are the challenges you’d face if you tried to implement this access scheme? 

Readers' comments (4)

  • You only get £4.00 take home pay per consultation, Great to have half an hour but how many patients can you see. I know there is no health and safety for doctors, but realistically what is a safe number to see in a day? And what happens to the rest of requests for appointments ?

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  • I find it to be a great idea but it must be supported by allocation of one extra GP per 3000 list size to make it workable.

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  • This is a great idea if you can do it for free, based on the charitable and kind nature of one's heart. Unfortunately it isn't sustainable within the current models of financing general practice. What's even less surprising, is that the results of satisfaction all round increase with a 30 minute consultation! Of course, at your own cost but at least everyone feels happier. Yes?

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  • I once knew a GP who turned down the heating in his room and didn't have any seats for the patients.

    He could see 10-15 patients an hour no problem.

    There you go, a cure for NHS waiting lists. Fewer chairs and cooler surgeries!

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