10-minute appointments too short for proper diagnoses, RCGP says

The RCGP has stated that 10-minute appointments aren’t long enough to provide truly holistic care

According to the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), research indicates that a third of GPs have been unable to diagnose patients properly due to too-short 10-minute appointment times.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“It has been clear for some time that the standard 10-minute appointment is no longer fit for purpose.

“As GPs, we want to be able to deliver truly holistic care to our patients after considering all the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on their health.

“But when you consider that very few patients now come to us with just one health-related condition, and that we are increasingly up against the clock in consultations, this is simply not possible and in some cases it could be unsafe.

“We know that GPs and our teams are working under intense resource and workforce pressures and as a result, hard-working, experienced family doctors are burning out, and leaving the profession earlier than they would have done.

“These must be addressed, not just to keep general practice – and the wider NHS – sustainable, but for our patients’ safety.

“We have called for 15-minute appointments as a standard, with longer for those patients with complex health needs who need it.

“But with GP workload soaring, falling numbers of family doctors, and patients waiting longer for appointments, we need more resources and an expanded workforce to make these longer consultations feasible – otherwise it will only add to pressures and serve to undermine patients’ ability to access the care that they need.”

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