The 10 minute consultation… Will there be a change or will brutalising the doctor-patient relationship continue?

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.

Is the 10 minute GP consultation model fit for purpose?

The 15 minute consultation (BMJ 2012;344:e3283 )

Sofia Lind in Pulse 2014: Ten-minute consultations ‘must go’, says NHS England director

RCGP Journal – “10-minute consultation no longer fir for purpose, says college!. GP patient times are some of the shortest in Europe….






This entry was posted in A Personal View, General Practitioners, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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