Doctor’s appointments should be extended from the current ten minutes to at least fifteen according to a report from the Royal College of GPs’ who have set out their vision for the future of general practice.
It states that by 2030 face-to-face GP consultations will be at least 15 minutes, with longer for those patients who need it.
Recent research showed that the UK offers some of the shortest GP consultations amongst economically-advanced nations at 9.2 minutes – with another study finding that the average GP consultation involved discussion of two and a half health problems.
It’s estimated that the number of people with a single chronic condition increased by 4%, and with multiple chronic conditions by 8% per year between 2003/4-2015/16 – and that patients with long-term conditions account for around 50% of all GP appointments.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is abundantly clear that the standard 10-minute appointment is unfit for purpose. It’s increasingly rare for a patient to present with a just single health condition, and we cannot deal with this adequately in 10 minutes.
“GPs we want to deliver truly holistic care to our patients, considering all the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on their health. But this depends on us having more time to spend with patients, and the resources and people to allow us to do this.
“NHS bodies across the UK do not stipulate how long GP appointments should be, but GP workload is soaring, GP numbers are falling, and patients are already waiting too long to secure an appointment as a result. Without more resources and an expanded workforce, longer consultations would simply mean increased waiting times, undermining patients’ ability to access the care that they need.”