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GP appointments under ten minutes may not be long enough

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NHS staffing shortages causing concern

GPs have labelled short consultations in the NHS ‘crazy’ and say that the length of appointments risks undermining care if more patients are pushed out of hospitals, the BBC reports.

The average length of a consultation in the UK is ten minutes. It is thought that this is the shortest in the developed world. GP leaders have said that this was already too short, and the extra workload from proposed hospital closures would destabilise care.

44 plans are in place in England to reduce hospital care and transfer more services into the community to save money and make the NHS more efficient.

Research by the Health Foundation showed that 92% of consultations in the UK are completed in under 15 minutes. GPs have argued that the ageing population means that growing numbers of patients have complex conditions that cannot be dealt with in the normal ten minute consultation.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association noted that we spend less and have fewer doctors than other European nations:

"We have one third of the hospital beds per head compared to Germany for example, GPs spend less time per patient than any other European nations.

"We need to be addressing these issues as a priority."

The Department of Health confirmed that the government is aiming to increase the GP workforce by 16% by 2020.

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