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RCGP campaigns for longer consultation times



By Gareth Iacobucci

The RCGP has called for GP consultation times to be extended to reflect the greater number of patients with complex long-term conditions.

The recommendation is made in the RCGP's UK-wide pre-election manifesto, which also calls for the preservation of the practice list to protect the GP-patient relationship, longer training for GPs, and continued support for the development of GP federations.

Leading the Way: High Quality Care For All Through General Practice also wants more GP involvement in the commissioning of out-of-hours, better and faster access to diagnostic tests, and improved services for socially excluded groups.

The manifesto also calls for better access to talking therapies, and improved skill mix in primary care, to create ‘enhanced practice teams' including nurses, health visitors, midwives, community physiotherapists and pharmacists.

The call for increased consultation times aligns the College closely with the BMA, which made a similar pledge in its own election manifesto.

The RCGP manifesto says: ‘The ageing population means that more patients will have long-term and increasingly complex conditions. We call for the average consultation time between a patient and his or her GP to be increased.'

The College's call for ‘politicians to recognise the importance of the practice list' will be seen as a direct warning to the Government's plans to scrap GP practice boundaries, which the RCGP has warned could fragment care.

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said: ‘Our health service faces a huge challenge: responding to reduced funding without reducing the quality of the services we provide, or the quality of the care our patients deserve. It is a daunting prospect.

'The RCGP is up for the challenge and is already leading the way in showing how high-quality, cost effective care can be available to all, based on clinical need and not an individual's ability to pay.'

‘GPs and their primary healthcare teams are a key part of the solution.'

RCGP RCGP manifesto