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BMA urges practices to offer 15-minute consultations



A doctors’ union has advised practices to immediately start offering consultations of 15 minutes or more, as part of the fightback against the Government’s new GP access plan.

The British Medical Association (BMA) set out a range of measures practices should take to protect their staff and patients and ‘prioritise’ core work amid pressure to return to pre-pandemic ways of working.

In an email bulletin sent to GPs on Friday, the BMA’s GP Committee said that practices ‘should not feel pressured to return to a traditional 10-minute treadmill of face-to-face consultations that are neither good for patients nor clinicians’.

It said: ‘Instead, they should offer patients consultations that are 15 minutes or more [and] apply to close the practice list to focus on the needs of existing patients.’

Other actions it recommended are to:

  • stop all non-GMS work to give priority to GMS work
  • reject all shifted work from secondary care that has not been properly commissioned
  • not accept additional NHS 111 referrals above the contractual one per 3,000 patients
  • stop unnecessary cost-based prescribing audits to focus on quality care
  • decline to do additional extended access sessions to focus on the core work of the practice.

The GPC will ‘provide more guidance in the coming days on what practices could do if NHSE/I and the Government fail to take the action needed to properly support general practice’, it added.

It also encouraged practices to review the BMA’s paper on ‘workload control in general practice’.

This comes as it is ‘clear that neither the Government nor NHSE/I understands the scale of the crisis impacting general practice, or have provided the necessary measures to support the profession at this critical time’, the GPC said.

The Government’s £250m ‘support’ package for practices – which set out a range of measures to improve access to practices – was met with criticism from nurses.

A version of this story was originally published on Nursing in Practice sister publication Pulse.

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