‘Slash red tape’ say GPs in new BMA survey

GPs are calling for cuts in red tape to free up more time for patient care according to a BMA survey published today.

The survey found that more than half of GPs – those with unmanageable workloads in particular – want a reduction in the size of the quality and outcomes framework (QOF).

The survey also found that: (i) just under three-quarters (73 percent) of GPs support the continuation of a national GMS (general medical services) contract; (ii) 47 percent support having the option of a local PMS (personal medical services) contract; (iii) four in five GPs support keeping the option of independent contractor status; and (v) a third of GPs say their practice has joined a network or federation, and 52 per cent feel these models are the best way to develop general practice in their local area.

“GPs struggling with unmanageable levels of workload want to reduce any unnecessary bureaucracy and box-ticking to a minimum”, said BMA GPs committee deputy chair Richard Vautrey. “In consultations that are increasingly pressured for time, GPs want to focus primarily on the needs identified by the patient in front of them, not the prompts to gather more data for the computer.

“GPs working in rural areas are more likely to have stable practice populations and are less likely to feel that repeated annual health checks prompted by QOF for patients with stable conditions are always necessary.”

The survey results are available on the BMA website.

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Heavy workload having “negative impact” on patient care say GPs

More than 15,500 UK GPs believe their heavy workload is having a “negative impact” on the quality of patient care according to a British Medical Association (BMA) survey published today.

“This poll highlights that GPs’ ability to care for patients is being seriously undermined by escalating workload, inadequate resourcing and unnecessary paperwork”, said BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul.

“Many GPs do not feel they have enough time to spend with their patients and that these intense pressures are beginning to damage patient care. We need politicians of all parties to stop playing games with the NHS by making glib promises to voters which ignore the reality that many GP practices are close to breaking point.”

The survey also shows: (i) two thirds of GPs – 67 per cent – feel there should be longer consultations for certain patients, such as those with long-term conditions; (ii) one in four feel that all patients need increased time with their GPs; (iii) almost six out of 10 GPs working in out-of-hours services – 56 per cent – feel that their workload is having a detrimental effect on the care they provide; (iv) GPs believe increased funding, longer consultation times, an increase in GP numbers and a reduction in bureaucracy are the solutions to improving the overall care patients receive from general practice; and (v) more than half of GPs feel practices should offer some form of extended hours, particularly by working in networks. However, 94 per cent of GPs do not feel they can offer seven-day opening.

Dr Nagpaul added: “The results also highlight that, while the majority of GPs support properly funded and resourced extended hours, they question the benefit to patients of a politically driven demand to open all practices seven days a week.”

The BMA survey can be accessed on the BMA website.

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