GPs’ 25-contact limit ‘arbitrary’, says NHS England

18th August 2023 by NASGP

GPs’ 25-contact limit ‘arbitrary’, says NHS England

NHS England has refused to recognise the BMA’s recommended limit for safe numbers of patient contacts, Pulse reports.

In an interview with Pulse in early August, the national primary care director Dr Amanda Doyle said NHS England found BMA’s 25 contact limit ‘arbitrary’.

Dr Doyle said: “What we have said to practices [is], if you are in a position where you feel you need to divert your patients to 111, then you need to let your commissioner know. And that’s completely and utterly separate from any arbitrary number of contacts.”

In NASGP’s closed Facebook group, GPs report averaging anywhere from 30 to 40 calls and face-to-face patient contacts a day.

One GP reported their worst day included 56 – more than twice the recommended safe limit. Another reported demands to see 18 patients in a three-hour session.

Only GP locums who are not duty doctors have reported less: 25-30, still above the BMA’s recommended safe limit. One locum suggested that it’s normal for practices they work with to ask for 30 contacts a day.

Another reported doing 48 e-consults a day, only recently reduced to 40.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “This is precisely why we built LocumDeck – to give locums control over their clinical practice, so that they can ensure the care they provide is safely within their professional boundaries, so that the practices they support receive the best from them.

“Every practice is different, every patient population is different, so every GP needs to define what is right for them. NASGP’s position here is much more about GPs having autonomy and agency over their clinical practice, and choosing what is best for the patient.”

Our analysis of LocumDeck revealed GP locums using Instant Book earned an average of 12% more than those who booked through traditional means. Read more

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