GPs are calling for more time with patients and better funding to help meet demand and improve services, according to a poll by the British Medical Association of more than 15,500 in the field.
The survey found that 76% of respondents felt increased funding is key for service improvement and care continuity, while 70% felt longer consultation times were needed, with only 8% believing the 10-minute timeframe is adequate.
“Many GPs do not feel they have enough time to spend with their patients and that these intense pressures are beginning to damage local services,” warned the BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul.
Almost all of those surveyed (93%) reported that heavy workload is having a negative impact on the quality of services, and 94% were against the notion of seven-day opening in their own practices, which doesn’t bode well for Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans for open-all-hours surgeries.
Cameron has promised that everyone will be able to see a GP seven days a week by 2020 and to support thousands more practices to stay open longer.
But Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GP, has warned that “telling patients that they can walk into their local surgery in the evenings or at weekends risks raising expectations that general practice cannot live up to with current resources”.
“It is important for practices to tailor their opening hours to the needs of local people, rather than pursuing seven day opening for the sake of it,” she said.