Viewpoint: Government must reduce bureaucracy, remove administration and abolish targets

For many GPs I suspect, sadly, that the results of the BMA's survey into GP workload will hold few surprises.

Dr Chand: 'GPs simply cannot give the most to their patients if their time is being spent elsewhere.'
Dr Chand: 'GPs simply cannot give the most to their patients if their time is being spent elsewhere.'

10% of GPs throughout England, amounting to more than 3,600 grassroots GPs on the coalface of primary care, gave their concerns which highlighted the growing curse of increasing bureaucracy, box ticking and administration.

Almost 100% stated that the amount of bureaucracy and box-ticking has grown in the last year – a staggering result - and 82% believed that their workload had increased. 89% of GPs said that more targets will not improve patient care and 90% said their practice’s resources are likely to fall in the next year.

The pressure for GPs to do paperwork is vastly becoming the norm and in-turn bringing a huge burden. Asking patients to tick boxes on how many hours they spend doing DIY or cooking is not what GPs should be focusing on. Instead they should be devoting their time in delivering the personalised care that the patients need.

Surely the government must realise that with all the expertise and knowledge GPs possess there are far better ways to utilise their time than being hounded with ridiculous questionnaires. 

This makes me worry about GP practices and how they will be conducted in the future but what worries me most is knowing that as many as 80% of GPs have reported a reduction in their morale. The wellbeing of GPs is extremely important to the BMA and I want to reassure members that we will work hard on trying to improve this.

We all know that the health service is going through a very difficult time but we must make it clear that GPs simply cannot give the most to their patients if their time is being spent elsewhere.  

They should be there for the patients needs and have as much time as possible to be available for appointments. At least 82% of GPs felt that some of the new targets were actually reducing the number of appointments available to the majority of patients. This is not what we want to be seeing.

We believe the government is beginning to listen to us, it knows how hard GPs are working and is starting to realise that this is not a resourceful way for GPs to work.We must ensure that it cuts back on the bureaucracy, removes administration, abolishes these targets and gives patients priority. After all it is the patients who should come first and not these needless tasks.

* Dr Chand is the BMA's deputy chairman.

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