The GPC has launched a 42-page guide to help GPs avoid doing unnecessary work which is not part of their job description.
Explaining the move, the GPC said the initiative was not about restricting services to patients but ensuring they have access to quality care which is safe. The guide also highlights the importance of GPs to look after their own health in light of workload pressures to avoid burnout.
Introducing the guide, titled Quality first: Managing workload to deliver safe patient care, the GPC said GPs are under ‘unprecedented pressure’ with a 40 million increase in the number of consultations annually compared to five years ago.
‘This represents the single greatest rise in volume of care within any sector of the NHS. The increase has not been matched by an increase in GP numbers and staff, nor by an expansion in infrastructure, against a background of falling resource.’
It added: ‘This guidance is not about restricting GP services. It is about providing safe, quality and accessible care to patients, at time when GPs are being prevented from doing so by excessive and inappropriate or unresourced work, which is taking them away from their prime duty of care as GPs.’
The guide covers reducing clinical workload that is inappropriate for GP practices; reviewing and limiting voluntary additional work, enhanced services or schemes detracting from core work; tips on stopping unfunded or under resourced work; encouraging patients to self care; collaborating with neighbouring practices to share workload; IT improvements that can reduce workload; tips on managing practice list size if there is not enough capacity; and advice to GPs to seek help if their workload ias impacting on their contractual or professional duties or on their own health.
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The demand on GP practices has far outstripped capacity. This is having a direct effect on patient services, with longer waits for a GP appointment and many practices struggling to provide adequate essential services for their patients. Increasing numbers of practices are under intense pressure due to GP vacancies that cannot be filled, while others are working in inadequate premises, and with insufficient staffing.’