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GPs have ‘less than half the time they need’ to see patients

By Gareth Iacobucci

Over-stretched GPs have less than half the time they need to assess their patients properly, according to new research released today by Aviva UK Health.

More than half of GPs questioned (57%) in the firm's annual Health of the Workplace report said that they have less time to see their patients than they did five years ago, while almost 90% said they would ideally take up to 20 minutes to see each patient.

Half of 200 GPs surveyed said a lack of time with their patients definitely affects their ability to do their job, and a further 43% said it makes it harder for them to come to an accurate diagnosis.

The survey also shows the growing role of the internet in GPs work, with 96% claiming to access web search engines on a daily basis for their work, and 85% admitting to using these online resources as an aid to diagnosis.

Dr Hugh Laing, chief medical officer at Aviva and a practising GP, said: ‘Our research shows that GPs are over stretched and this can affect the quality of support they are able to offer their patients.

‘Web based technology has revolutionised the way we all work but ultimately there is no substitute for a thorough assessment by a qualified GP and from our research this is clearly not happening in many cases.

‘While the coalition Government has outlined its health policies focusing on improving access to GPs and offering a wider choice of doctors, both patients and GPs are clearly demanding a better GP experience, and access times and choice are just one piece of this jigsaw.'

GPs have ‘less than half the time they need' to see patients