Generations of GPs have been taught around the 10 minute consultation, and for emergencies and children 5 minutes. The RCGP exam is predicated on a 10 minute appointment.. Traditional teaching gives the doctor a choice if he needs more time: either take more and catch up later, or bring the patient back for a second/third/subsequent appointment. Old people with complex multiple morbidities and with undressing issues, often in rural branch surgeries, need much longer than 10 minutes… If they are asked to make another appointment usually there wont be one for 5-6 weeks!
We have been excluding doctors who cannot work fast enough for years. Is the tide going to turn? Will doctors who take longer be rewarded the same? Will there be an exam for them to take?
Some Doctors in London are having an interesting appointment system to reduce non-attendances. They have same day emergencies and appointments for the next working day only..
One other problem: as Nurse Practitioners see more children with minor illnesses and ear infections, the more complex problems are concentrated with the GP. So he/she gets no short cases to relax, and allow catch up.
RCGP Journal – “10-minute consultation no longer fir for purpose, says college!. GP patient times are some of the shortest in Europe….