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Time-bound GPs struggling to diagnose patients

3 June 2010

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GP appointment times are too short, leaving doctors struggling to make accurate diagnoses in the time provided, a survey has suggested.

Some 200 GPs were questioned as part of the survey from insurer Aviva UK Health, which revealed that 50% of doctors believe short appointment times directly affect their ability to do their job.

The majority of GPs (89%) said they would like appointment times to be extended to 20 minutes from the present 10-minute standard, with only 7% saying current times are sufficient for them to do their job properly.

Of the doctors asked, 57% say they have less time with people than five years ago.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GPs committee, said: “The BMA, and many patients, believe appointment times should be longer because we know GPs would like to have more time to care for their patients.

“However, that means we would also need more GPs, otherwise it will just become harder to see a doctor because there would be fewer appointments available.”

The study also found that 96% of GPs use the internet for their daily work, with 85% saying they use it to help with diagnosing a patient.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

British Medical Association

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