Doctors call for cap on GP workload

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Doctors have voted in favour of a motion to cap the workload of GPs at the annual BMA conference, according to

During this week’s annual BMA conference, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of capping GP workload.

The meeting heard that, given the volume of work and stress that GPs are under, patient care could well soon begin to be compromised alongside a severe drop in staff morale. Delegates asked for a “sensible cap” to be agreed “on the workload of a GP which can be expected to be safely delivered in a day for the safety of patients and sanity of GPs.”

The motion was proposed by Dr Satish Narang, who told delegates that open-ended contracts for GPs is “insane”.

“If forced to take on more and more work without additional funding, workforce and resources, the consequences will be that the quality of work will be compromised, and unsafe in the case of patient care,” he said.

“It will drive the contractors insane… morale will become so poor that he will quit or become insolvent.. This is exactly what is happening to GPs.”

Narang added that appointments are becoming more complex and, as such, it is increasingly difficult to fit them into 10-minute slots.

Some doctors agreed that seeing 25 patients per day is a reasonable limit.

Dr Gary Marlowe, chair of London regional BMA division, warned that such a cap had the potential to tie doctors’ “hands to the detriment of patients.”

“In virtually every one of my sessions, there is a patient with a serious medical problem that would be impossible to identify without that consultation,” he said.

“That patient could be the first appointment of the day, or the 26th appointment. Should we choose a cap of, say, 25, as has been suggested, what happens to that 26th patient?”

A BMA spokesperson added:

“GPs are in favour of a sensible workload to ensure they deliver the best care to their patients and do not put their own health and welfare at even greater risk.

“Today’s motion does not define the number of consultations, or a timeframe or scale for any capping.

“As we outlined in our GP workload strategy paper in March of this year, it is imperative that we spell out what’s safe and what’s sustainable so that practices can put in place systems and processes to support and rebuild general practice for the sake of both doctors and their patients.”

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