A number of Scottish patients are being offered 30 to 40-minute GP consultations as part of a new pilot project costing almost £300,000.
The trial will see GPs being recruited to a busy GP surgery covering a deprived area of Glasgow, and will be studied by a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow to measure its impact on hospital admissions.
The Scottish Government has agreed to fund the three-year pilot which will see the Govan Health Centre in south Glasgow give special attention to its most vulnerable patients, including not just longer appointments but also monthly meetings between GPs, hospital consultants and social services to discuss their care.
Having launched in April, the pilot is costing £290,000 in its first year with some of that paying for two extra GPs now working at the practice.
Dr John Montgomery, a GP at the practice and the project leader, told the Herald newspaper that the extra funding has helped free up time to manage vulnerable patients.
He said: ‘We have developed a model where we identify patients who frequently attend one of the practices or hospital emergency departments and now tailor a healthcare package to best meet their needs.’
The news comes as a BMA survey of nearly 16,000 grassroots GPs found that more than 90% think the standard 10-minute consultation time slots are ‘inadequate’ and that longer consultations should be prioritised over rapid access to appointments.