Responding to a GP workload survey by Pulse magazine revealing the increasing number of GP patient contacts per day, BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said:
“We know that unmanageable and unsafe workload is the primary reason behind doctors leaving general practice, which is leading to serious issues including practices closing to new patients and other surgeries closing entirely. This workload pressure also means GPs are increasingly suffering from burnout and patients are being put at risk of unsafe care.
“The BMA has called for practices to be empowered to set their own capacity limits for safe working, which includes limiting the number of consultations per day. Fewer consultations would mean longer contact time with patients, leaving doctors better able to ensure safe, high-quality care, that many feel is not possible within the current 10-minute consultation.
“We have also highlighted the need for an alert system for practices to use, as hospitals already do, to report when a practice has reached capacity and needs to take urgent steps to address this.
“GPs are committed to provide the best possible care to their patients they can, despite increased strain from rising patient demand, staff shortages and stagnating budgets. Now the government must work with the BMA to come up with a long-term solution – including workforce and funding – to ensure the needs a growing population with increasingly complex conditions can be met safely on the front line.”
Notes to editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.
1. Survey of 900 GPs found that one in five GPs have more than 50 daily patient contacts.
2. The results of the survey can be found here.