GPs in England can remove the offer of appointments that last at least ten minutes under new government changes.
There have been a number of requirements being removed during the latest round of contract negotiations between the government and doctors’ leaders.
On average consultations in England are said to last for around twelve minutes. In the new change GPs say they will be able to have greater flexibility over how they organise their appointments.
The removal of the ten minute minimum slot for booked appoints is just one of the changes being made to the Quality and Outcomes Framework which accounts for a significant proportion of the funding practices receive, reports the BBC.
Dr Dean Marshall, who is part of the British Medical Association’s GP negotiating team, told the BBC: “The 10-minute appointment just isn’t appropriate any more. Some patients just need a quick five minutes with us while other patients need much longer because of the complex nature of their health problems.”
A spokeswoman for NHS England said: “GPs are professionals who know what is best for their patients. GP appointments are currently about 12 minutes long on average. GPs should have the flexibility to decide how long an appointment needs to be and how many patients they can see in one day, using their clinical judgement, on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs of their patients.”
Other changes will see the removal of the requirement of GPs to ask patients with diabetes, at every annual check-up, whether or not they experience erectile dysfunction. There will also no longer be a requirement for patients with high blood pressure to go through a detailed, but often irrelevant questionnaire about their activity levels.
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