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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