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Ten minute appointments are an ‘anachronism’, doctors agree



The BMA has voted in favour of longer GP appointment slots as ten minute appointments are an ‘anachronism’ and the current situation is ‘failing the needs of patients’, doctors at the Annual Representative Meeting in Edinburgh agreed.

A motion proposed by GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul called for longer consultations and a ‘workforce strategy’ to enable this was unanimously passed by doctors at the meeting.

This brings BMA into line with the RCGP, which has long called for appointment slots to be lengthened, with its honorary secretary calling for 30 minute appointments last year.

The motion said: ‘The progressive movement of complex and chronic care into the community has made the 10 minute GP consultation totally outdated, wholly inadequate and failing the needs of patients, and demands that there should be a deliberate workforce strategy for requisite GP numbers to enable longer consultations with patients.’

Dr Nagpaul called then ten minute consultation an anachronism from ‘a former era in general practice’ and said the brevity of appointments leads to poorer patient care.

He said: ‘We short change our patients with closed questions. We get frustrated when patients bring a shopping list of problems instead of empathising with their multiple misfortunes. This insults our professionalism and undermines the doctor-patient relationship.’

‘Some private companies in America recommend GPs see no more than ten patients a day. Across Europe 20 minute consultations are the norm. We must stop this conveyor belt processing of patients.’

Dr Laura Kelly, from the Medical Student’s Forum, added that when she was a medical students training GPs called her ‘useful’ because medical students are afforded 40 minutes with the patient, and therefore could provide high quality care.

Doctors also condemned the changes to the employers contribution of superannuation for locums from PCOs to practices and agreed to publicly name deaneries failing to adhere to guidance which says GP training should include a minimum of 18 months in general practice.

 

Motions in full

 

524.  Motion by Edgware and Hendon Division

The BMA has voted in favour of longer GP appointment slots as ten minute appointments are an ‘anachronism’ and the current situation is ‘failing the needs of patients’, doctors at the Annual Representatives Meeting in Edinburgh agreed.

 

523.  Motion by the Agenda Committee

 Motion to be proposed by the Sheffield division:  That this Meeting is concerned that the quality of GP training is being compromised and calls on the BMA to lobby COGPED to:

 i.ensure adherence to the current guidelines for GP training which include a minimum of 18 months training in general practice;

ii.ensure, when four year GP training is implemented, a minimum of twenty four months training in general practice;

iii.ensure hospital training posts are of an appropriate length for GP training;

iv.publicly name the deaneries (or equivalent bodies) that are failing to adhere to their guidance.

 

522.  Motion by Yorkshire Regional Council

That this Meeting:

i.condemns the government’s move to transfer the responsibility for paying employers superannuation for locums from PCOs to practices;

ii.insists that all practices should treat locums fairly and pay employers superannuation contributions in addition to the locum fee whenever the locum is still in the pension scheme.