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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