One illness per GP appointment.
GP Appointments & Negligence, Lack of duty of care.
Patients are being told that doctors are too busy to cope with more 20-minute appointments that they have restricted calls for 10 minutes and to only discuss one ailment per consultation.
Critics say it could put people off discussing important health issues.
People who are vulnerable who have ongoing mental health issues or have multiple issues may be reluctant to phone multiple times.
According to some surgeries dealing with more than one health issue can increase the chances of a mistake. (A GP should not make mistakes, although I have proof that they do, with my daughter being prescribed Gaviscon by the GP yet the A&E diagnosed my daughter with Multiple Sclerosis).
My calculation is if the surgery did an eight-hour shift and had 20-minute consultations, would be 24 patients a day multiplied by 5 doctors would be 120 patients a day multiplied by 5 days would be 600 people a week or 2,400 patients per month that they could consult.
Not everyone comes to the surgery every week or every month, so what are doctors doing if they are having problems with time management?
GPs are insisting that patients raise only one problem per appointment because they are so short of time.
According to the Mail Online (January 2017), those with multiple ailments are being banned from booking longer 20-minute consultations – instead of being told to book a standard ten-minute appointment for each condition they want to discuss.
A ten-minute slot would equate to 6 slots per hour multiplied by 8 hours, which equates to 48 patients per day per Doctor. (48 patients per day per 10 min slots x 5 GP’s = 240 patients per day x 5 days = 1,200 patients per week x 4 weeks = 4.800 patients per month).
Surgeries are increasingly introducing a controversial policy to cope with rising demand. But campaigners described the rules as ‘outrageous’ and warned they would put off patients from discussing potentially important health worries.
Practices across the UK have adopted the ‘one problem per appointment’ policy which claims it is to improve ‘clinical safety. However, there is a real increased risk that mistakes will be made and things missed as the Doctor may be inclined to rush, particularly if other patients are waiting.’ Other Surgeries have gone one step further by banning any long appointments for multiple health issues.
GP surgeries are under pressure from the rising and aging population on top of a recruitment crisis of family doctors. NHS figures published in December 2016 showed that in some parts of the country the number of patients on surgery lists has soared by 30 percent in just three years.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘It is outrageous that patients are being told there are rules around the health problems that can be discussed.
We hear so frequently from patients who struggle to even get an appointment that I’m confident most would take such an opportunity to ask about a secondary or less-urgent health concern.
‘Our concerns are that patients will not be given the opportunity, or maybe put off, from asking for medical advice because of this rule, which is a very serious patient safety risk.’
Dr. Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said she was ‘saddened by the move. She added: ‘For a lot of consultations, particularly for people with chronic diseases or any psychological element to it, to be pressured into ten minutes is really unhelpful.’
Note from the Editor.
In Consideration of the above article, the Editor (myself) who has multiple health issues wrote a nine-page letter to the GP back in May of this year. I sent it via email with an attachment marked as private and confidential. I received an email back from the practice manager who said that she had read the letter (Not addressed to her) and that I needed to discuss my concerns by making a phone call to the GP even though it clearly stated in the letter what my concerns were.
(The GP could have phoned the patient (aka me) to discuss the concerns rather than ignore me altogether).
So, six months later seeing I never received a letter from the GP or a phone call, I happened to be chasing up a missing prescription for my daughter and I decided to kill two birds with one stone and asked for the GP to phone me only to be told I would have to phone back the following day to book a consultation. I replied just mark it on the system that I need the doctor to phone me.
By all accounts, the person I was speaking to could not pass on a message as I will explain.
I related that the letter I wrote in May clearly stated my concerns and that it could be marked on the system for the GP to phone me and that I should not be chasing the GP. The receptionist (male) said he would pass the message on so I thought…
Within minutes of the call ending the practice manager phoned demanding that I phone back the following day to book a consultation, she never said what time, but I presume at 8 am when the lines get jammed from people trying to make appointments for a good half hour to an hour, only to be told the slots are gone and to phone back the day after. This has happened previously to me so maybe the system has changed; I do not know, as I hardly ever phone the GP, I prefer everything in writing?
I said that the doctor should phone me and for the practice manager to pass the message on, who replied the doctor is too busy to read letters or correspond to them and that unless I phoned back in the morning to book a consultation the doctor will not be phoning me.
My reply was, I had to drop what I was doing today to speak with the practice manager that did not schedule a call and did not even ask if it was OK to talk. I continued to say I am also busy and that this call was inconvenient to which the practice manager raised her voice and in a stern tone said “Goodbye” and cut me off by ending the call.
If the GP does not phone me tomorrow, I will go out of my way to name and shame the practice and sue them for negligence for my escalation of health issues and emotional distress.
If I work into the early hours of the morning, I am not going to get up especially early to phone the surgery to ask for the GP to phone me when I have spoken with three people in total that could easily put a post-it note, on the GP’s desk to phone me. It is not difficult.
The overall way they treat their patients does not surprise me why people get agitated. If I were an elderly person, I would not be ringing back, this could then cause the persons’ health to deteriorate even more.
I speak on behalf of everyone who has problems speaking to their GP for multiple health issues. If a letter has been received and as per the phone call today which confirmed my ailments have been put on the system, you would think the care of duty by the clinician should have followed it up, but they have not, which in my way of thinking is negligence.
I suffer from depression and anxiety I am an advocate for mental health and have a website specifically for disabilities www.disabledentrepreneur.uk
I am not ashamed to admit it, I do struggle with anxiety and depression most days and some days are easier than others.
I lost my ex-husband and a family friend this year and around May time, which felt I needed some support from my GP hence wrote the letter not only discussing my mental health but other multiple ailments. Had I have had suicidal thoughts you would not be reading this right now because of my GP’s incompetence.
Imagine someone with a similar health issue relying on the GP to get in touch with them, I dread to think how many people have had their symptoms get worse because of the lack of duty of care by the clinician.
I have now spoken to three people in total over my letter including a cluster pharmacist who phoned me to discuss my medication who also told me she had read my letter and I quote “The letter was very thorough which is what GP’s like”, yet no one has followed up on my health issues?
I did write a while ago about doctor / patient confidentiality:
Some people also have anxiety phoning their GP’s:
FURTHER READING (citation)
HOW TO COMPLAIN
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