Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

One in six GP appointments could be ‘taken on by support staff’

More than a quarter of GP appointments are being wasted as GPs spend time chasing hospital appointments and results, and take on work that could be done by support staff, a report cited by the Prime Minister in support of the new contract has said.

A DH statement on the new contract announced by David Cameron yesterday said that it will focus on removing bureaucracy and form filling, citing findings from the Making time in general practice report by the NHS Alliance and Primary Care Foundation released at the same time.

The report - which was commissioned by NHS England as part of health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’ - found that more than one in six appointments could be handled by non-GP staff.

An audit tool, used by 56 GPs and reviewing a total of 5,128 appointments, found that ‘5.5% of problems could have been handled through self-care or pharmacist advice, 6.5% of appointments could have been handled by another professional in the practice and 4% were about navigating the health service or social prescribing’.

The study found that, overall, one in four appointments are unnecessary.

It said 4.5% of GP appointment time was spent chasing work from hospitals, the equivalent of 15 million appointments annually across England.

To cut down bureaucracy, the report proposes several points of action that should be addressed ‘immediately’, including allowing patients who can’t attend a hospital appointment to rebook without returning to the GP and improving communication between practices and hospitals.

It also suggests practices create dedicated free time for GP partners and practice leaders to ‘think through how they can work differently’.

The DH press statement said: ’The new contract will remove the bureaucratic box-ticking of the 2004 GP contract – freeing up GP time to provide the quality of care that they and their patients want.

’Micro-management of GPs’ work through the QOF and other sorts of old-fashioned bureaucracy will be scrapped, giving doctors far greater professional control.

’A study published today by the Primary Care Foundation and NHS Alliance sets out a number of ways of reducing bureaucracy – including by allowing smoother rebooking of appointments, sharing best practice, and linking more effectively with nurses and pharmacists.’

 

Readers' comments (15)

  • Hospitals tell patients to "see your GP", everybody tells patients to "see your GP" nowadays.
    NHS 111 tells patients to "see your GP" when they could see a pharmacist or self care.
    Pharmacists tell patients to "see your GP" when they could give advice.
    The hospital tells patients to "see your GP" if they can't/won't offer the patient a reasonable-wait outpatient appointment or even for various "internal" matters.
    Walk-in-centres and other OOH providers tell patients to "see your GP" when the problem could be dealt with by self care or a pharmacist.

    Until other agencies start TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for patient care rather than just telling patients to "see your GP", GPs will have to carry on dealing with things that others could deal with.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Load of bullshit!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • And surely the govt will be paying indemnity cover of these 'support services' as GPs are finding it exactng to pay their own fees.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My Bulls***ometer has just gone bust with this rubbish.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Barking up the wrong tree. Ensure that discharge back to GP does not mean another referral. Also remove the restriction on consultant to consultant referrals and ensure prescriptions are done in hospital. That would remove a lot of unnecessary appointments daily.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Barking up the wrong tree. Tell it to the consultants and hospital managers please.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I can't think of any appointments that non clinicians could have dealt with. The fat is truly gone from the appointment book. All our appointments go through reception then through a clinician phone call if reception can't deal with it.

    Anything else - well the trick is knowing which of the 1 in 6 appointments won't 'need' a GP in advance of the GP appointment!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The DH press statement said: ’The new contract will remove the bureaucratic box-ticking of the 2004 GP contract – freeing up GP time to provide the quality of care that they and their patients want.

    ’Micro-management of GPs’ work through the QOF and other sorts of old-fashioned bureaucracy will be scrapped, giving doctors far greater professional control.

    That not what Jezzabel has just told Pulse - arses and elbows.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • only 5% could be self-managed? that must be the best practice population in the world.

    it's well known a large majority of our workload is non-medical, usually social problems or requests to sort out hospital issues.

    I think the point is here, that nobody in primary care should be sorting these out. the patients should go directly to the hospital, ring the consultant's secretary and get the info, or ring social services. however as with everything other professionals almost always (we all know why) bouncing the patients to the GP.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Here is an idea. How about having enough health visitors to health visit, how about enough district nurses and school nurses to nurse, how about enough social workers to social work, how about enough CPNs (or whatever their latest name is) to psychiatically nurse etc etc...... Its the lack of these that has helped drive our workload up you morons. I cant integrate with professionals that hardly exist.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say