Exclusive: One in eight GP partners have completed over 70 consultations in a day this year

More than one in eight GP partners have completed over 70 consultations in a single day on at least one occasion in the past 12 months, a GPonline survey reveals.

A total of 9% said they had carried out more than 80 consultations in a single day on at least one occasion in the past year, and a further 4% said they had completed more than 70 in a day. The figure is far in excess of the number of consultations most GPs say is the maximum they should be allowed per day to guarantee patient safety.

The findings reflect soaring pressure on GP partners, and add to the weight of calls for a cap on GP workload. GPs at the special LMCs conference in January and those at the UK LMCs conference last month voted in favour of a cap on GP workload to guarantee patient safety.

Last month GPonline revealed that two thirds of GPs would support capping the number of consultations GPs can carry out per day at 30 or below.

GP workload

Research reported by the RCGP suggests more than half of GPs carry out 40-60 consultations per day on average.

Findings from the GPonline poll show that 43% of GP partners had carried out more than 50 consultations in a day at least once in the past year.

Some of the more than 200 GP partners who responded to the survey said they had been forced to take on extra workload when locums dropped out of shifts at short notice.

Others said they had been forced to deliver huge numbers of consultations when winter pressures saw attendance at emergency clinics soar.

One GP said: 'Our emergency clinic appointments became unsustainable - at one point we were having 30+ appointments booked into a duty afternoon clinic.'

Another GP who reported carrying out 50 consultations in a day said the day consisted of: 'Morning surgery (plus emergency extras), home visits, afternoon surgery (plus emergency extras), then evening surgery of 6 patients.'

Many GPs reported telephone consultations on top of an already huge workload.

Speaking at the LMCs conference 2016 last month, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that GPs must be allowed longer per consultation, warning that it was neither 'humane nor defensible' for GPs to manage patients with complex conditions in 10-minute time slots.

'GPs must be given longer consultation times in the interest of safe care, even if it means exposing a waiting list to see us.'

Photo: iStock

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