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Lib Dems claim patients being ‘rushed’ through GP appointments

Lib Dems claim patients being ‘rushed’ through GP appointments

The Liberal Democrat Party has claimed patients in England are being ‘rushed’ through their GP appointments.

The party highlighted data based on NHS figures from March last year to February, showing 51 million GP appointments lasted less than five minutes during that period of time.

The figures show that the proportion of all appointments lasting one to five minutes in England ranged from 16% this February to almost 21% last October.

The Liberal Democrats blamed the Government’s failure to recruit more GPs, saying this has resulted in patients ‘waiting for weeks to get an appointment only to be rushed through in a matter of minutes’.

But the RCGP pointed out that a higher proportion of appointments during the time period analysed had lasted beyond their scheduled 10 minutes, adding that sometimes short appointments are appropriate.

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper said: ‘Many patients need time to properly talk through their symptoms with a GP, especially when they have complex health problems.

‘But the Government’s failure to recruit the extra GPs they promised has meant doctors are being forced to cram in more and more short appointments.

‘People are being left waiting weeks to get an appointment only to be rushed through in a matter of minutes.

‘Entire communities are paying the price for years of neglect under the Conservatives, who have driven local health services into the ground.

‘Liberal Democrats have set out a plan to boost GP numbers and guarantee people a right to an appointment within one week, so people can finally get the care and attention they deserve.’

RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne said: ‘Over the timeframe the Lib Dems have analysed, 345.8 million consultations were delivered in general practice and almost 40% lasted longer than 10 minutes – more than half, if you exclude those with an unknown length.

The RCGP has long called for 15-minute consultations in general practice by 2030, including in its ‘Fit for the future’ report published in 2019.

‘Increasingly, GPs do need more time with patients, particularly if they have complex or multiple health problems,’ said Professor Hawthorne.

‘However, this is not to say every patient will need this time as some simple conditions can be dealt with in less, particularly if it is not the GP they are seeing – for example, a simple blood test might only take a few minutes of a practice nurse’s time – so patients should not feel as though they are being “rushed through” if they have a short appointment.’

It comes after Labour earlier this month pledged ‘thousands more GPs’ to ‘bring back the family doctor and guarantee face-to-face appointments to all who want them’.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Simon Gilbert 25 April, 2023 5:49 pm

We run a triage system using an electronic hub. The patient or receptionist enters information and the hub Gp deals with patients in order or need. This might be a quick forward to the admin team to book a face to face appointment, in which case it is added as a triage type appointment on a list. It might be a short phone call to get more information and, if necessary, to ask them to come in. We then enter these phone calls on the triage list as a telephone type call. Time recorded on EMIS for the consultation will be about 30 seconds as I add, arrive, see and leave in one go.
Face to face appointments are all 15 minute slots, so we are providing a lot of clinical time, but our brief phone interactions will still count as one of these < 5min appointments the Lib Dems are moaning about.

Sam Macphie 25 April, 2023 7:12 pm

Can these manoeuvres be perceived as ‘rushed’ if not careful, and ‘hoop after hoop after hoop at first point of contact’ and each hoop involves waits, delays, exasperation. Where is ‘first point of contact’ credence?

Simon Gilbert 25 April, 2023 7:22 pm

I think the issue is that the recording of arrival/seen/leave on the electronic record may be completely divorced from how long a consult actually took.

The Lib Dems would be better served working out how to reconcile a tradition of small state Classical Liberalism with their marriage with large state Progressivism rather than using irrelevant data as a way to but into the conversation around Gp appointment!

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr 25 April, 2023 10:56 pm

“The Lib Dems would be better served working out how to reconcile a tradition of small state Classical Liberalism with their marriage with large state Progressivism rather than using irrelevant data as a way to but into the conversation around Gp appointment!”
Boom! That is a mic drop!!
Bravo Simon, well said 🙂

Prometheus Unbound 25 April, 2023 11:27 pm

Everyone seems to forget that a 10min appt includes going to the waiting room, getting the patient into the room and sitting th down,
Then getting them out, washing hands, tidying up for the next patient.
There are 6 of these in 1 hour…
No gaps….

Andrew Jackson 26 April, 2023 6:12 pm

The Lib Dems USP is always to say something different to the other parties even if is just a pile of NHSE toilet paper. This is just an example of this and means nothing more than the other parties complaining about access.

David Banner 27 April, 2023 9:30 am

Overheard in a Westminster broom cupboard……

“OK, are all our MPs here? Good. Now, we used to be in bed with the Tories, but nobody liked us so we became morally superior Centrists again, but flipping Starmer has moved that way so now our founding principles are Left of Labour. Agreed? Unanimous!
Remember when we were passionate Remainers? Yeah, well nobody bought that neither so shut up about rejoining the EU.
The NHS? Oh easy, just promise more than the other 2. Let’s see, they’re saying a guaranteed GP appointment in 2 weeks, so……yep, we’ll say less than a week and….get this!….. 15 minutes per appointment with thousands more doctors from somewhere or other to cover it.
What was that? How do we pay for it?? Oh pipe down, Poindexter, stop taking it all so seriously, this is the Lib Dems, we’ll never have to actually enact any of this BS, we just promise the Earth even though we couldn’t deliver pizza, but by God it makes us feel smugly superior!
Right, anyone fancy a spliff before PMQs??”