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Heavy workloads impacting patient care, say GPs

Heavy workloads are having an impact on the quality of care GPs feel they can provide to their patients, a survey of Scottish doctors has found.

The BMA poll of 900 GPs across the country also found that the vast majority believe consultation times are too short to properly meet patients needs.

Just 7% of those responding said current 10-minute consultation slots are adequate.

And more than half agreed there should be longer consultation times for some groups of patients, including those with long-term conditions.

In addition, 40% said all patients need more time with their GP.

The figures also highlight the strain that GPs are under, with a recruitment crisis and dramatically increasing levels of work.

More than nine in ten respondents said their workload has negatively impacted on the quality of care given to patients.

When asked to rank what measures would help alleviate the pressure on general practice, 44% called for more funding as the top priority, 36% said the most important factor was getting more GPs, and 18% said longer consultation times should be top of the list.

It comes as recent figures suggest one in three practices in Scotland are now reporting a vacancy.

Dr Alan McDevitt, GPC Scotland chair, said the results of the survey reflect the immense pressure that GPs are feeling.

‘The rising workload is simply unsustainable and something has to change to make general practice in Scotland fit for the future.’

He added: ‘It is essential that the additional £500m per year promised by the Scottish Government is spent directly on supporting general practice.

‘Giving us more time with patients, expanding the GP workforce and supporting the practice based primary care team will help to ensure the quality of care that our patients receive remains of a high standard.’