GP survey highlights heavy workloads

GPs should have longer consultations with patients in order to help meet their needs, a BMA survey has found. The poll, which received responses from 900 GPs in Scotland, also found that the vast majority of GPs feel that their heavy workload is sometimes having a negative impact on the quality of care their patients receive.

Key findings from the survey of GPs in Scotland include: Just seven per cent of GPs say that patient consultation times are adequate; over half (53 per cent) believe there should be longer consultations for certain groups of patients, including those with long term conditions, and over one third say that all patients need more time with their GP; more than nine out of 10 GPs believe their workload has negatively impacted on the quality of care given to patients; asked to rank what measures they thought should be top priority to help GPs deliver general practice, 44 per cent of respondents said that increased funding to support general practice should be the top priority, 36 per cent identified increased GP numbers as their top priority and 18 per cent said longer consultation times should be top priority.

Dr Alan McDevitt, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said: “This survey reflects the immense pressure that GPs working across Scotland are currently feeling. The rising workload is simply unsustainable and something has to change to make general practice in Scotland fit for the future.

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“It is essential that the additional £500m per year promised by the Scottish Government is spent directly on supporting general practice. Giving us more time with patients, expanding the GP workforce and supporting the practice based primary care team will help to ensure the quality of care that our patients receive remains of a high standard.”