Health experts call for GP appointments to be extended to 15 minutes and limited to 25 a day

GP talking to senior woman

Our NHS is in crisis. Any doctor working today has seen first-hand the consequences of an underfunded, understaffed health service. It’s not surprising many people question the Government’s commitment to the NHS.

GP appointments should be lengthened to 15 minutes and limited to 25 a day per doctor, industry leaders have suggested.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the changes would prevent general practice from being “run into the ground”.

Appointments are normally allocated 10 minutes, which means some doctors can see up to 60 patients a day.

The BMA said the allotted times do not give GPs enough time to treat patients with complicated needs.

Brian Balmer, a member of the BMA GPs committee executive team, said: “In a climate of staff shortages and limited budgets, GP practices are struggling to cope with rising patient demand, especially from an ageing population with complicated, multiple health needs that cannot be properly treated within the current 10-minute recommended consultation.

The new recommendations are intended to stop general practice from being ‘run into the ground’.

“Many GPs are being forced to truncate care into an inadequate time frame and deliver an unsafe number of consultations, seeing in some cases 40 to 60 patients a day.”

Balmer added: “This is well above the 25 consultations per day, which is the recommended level in many other EU countries.”

The BMA also recommended the introduction of “locality hubs” – a central facility where demand, patient lists and safe working limits would be managed for a number of local practices, taking pressure off GPs.