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GP became ‘doable job’ following 28% bureaucracy decline, says RCGP chair

A&E letter

The reduction in bureaucracy resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic made general practice ‘a doable job’ again, after over a decade of rising workload, RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall has said.

According to RCGP analysis, GPs experienced a 28% reduction in time spent on clinical administrative tasks ‘in mid-May during the height of the Covid crisis’, alongside a 24% reduction in patient footfall.

Speaking about GP workload at this year’s virtual Pulse Live event, Professor Marshall said: ‘So many of my colleagues told me that general practice felt like a doable job, for the first time in 10 or 15 years.’

Arguing for a prolonged reduction to GP bureaucracy, he added: ‘The arguments are compelling that workload is a major impediment to us being able to do a high-quality job and a safe job.’

Professor Marshall told delegates that ‘in order to reduce workload we need’:

·         More staff;

·         To do things differently;

·         To stop doing some tings;

·         To reduce patient demand.

In May, Professor Marshall told the House of Commons health and social care committee that GP bureaucracy cannot return to pre-pandemic levels.

He told the Pulse Live event: ‘If you don’t call out workload as our major challenge, it’s very unlikely that our speciality will be able to do what our patients want, what we want, and what the NHS expects of us.’

In July, health secretary Matt Hancock promised that NHS bureaucracy would ‘not be coming back’. However, despite this, the CQC is restarting in-person GP practice inspections this month.

Last week, the BMA’s GP Committee warned that GPs will not be able to cope with a second wave of Covid-19 unless routine CQC inspections and QOF reporting is paused again, as happened during the first wave of the pandemic.

GPs registered to Pulse Live can watch Professor Marshall’s full talk. The Pulse Live virtual festival is taking place online until December with all GPs able to register for free.


Dave Haddock 7 October, 2020 8:38 am

RCGP should stop support for Appraisal and Revalidation. No proven benefit, but considerable cost of our most valuable resource – clinician time.

Turn out The lights 7 October, 2020 9:22 am

When was the last time the RCGP was of any value to the profession.

T F 7 October, 2020 9:33 am

Well said Professor. Someone should do a study on frivolous complaints and trolling online doctors suffered. Colleagues has been given bad reviews online and their reputation damaged. NHSE and the GMC need to recognize that some people do lie. It’s a human fault.

Robert James Andrew Mackenzie Koefman 7 October, 2020 10:14 am

there is no point saying all these things whihc we know are true without any actual action as the admin etc has all just ramped up again and patient contacts even though not F to F are above precovid levels and if the 111 debacle continues this will get even worse

John Glasspool 7 October, 2020 2:56 pm

Walk away. It’s therapeutic.

Charles Richards 17 November, 2020 5:27 pm

CQC is dependant on revenues from inspections. They appear to have a perverse incentive to restart whether needed or not.