A recently retired partner was becoming a salaried GP, and wrote in for some advice.
Is a ten minute appointment time the standard, or can one negotiate longer?
- 15 minutes is standard in some places - you can certainly negotiate longer. Whatever consultation length you finally agree to, it must be one that lies within your personal competency and fits in with your professional boundaries.
Are any breaks allowed mid surgery?
- Absolutely - it's entirely up to you what you finally accept as your contracted hours and breaks. If you settle for something that you're not going to be happy with, you won't last long there.
How long does one get to deal with admin after the surgery (referrals phone calls etc)?
- Again, it's up to you to agree how much time you need to feel comfortable performing this work in the allotted time, within your professional boundaries.
How long should one be allowed for a visit?
- There are no fixed rules here; if you're having to rush a visit, you'll put yourself at risk. It's up to you whether the terms fit your own safe working standards and are within your professional boundaries, only accepting what you know to be safe.
If one did a full day of two sessions, would one get a lunch break built in?
- You are entitled to at least twenty uninterrupted minutes, although we recommend at least thirty minutes. It can be paid or unpaid, which is down to you to negotiate. If you don't take a break, your performance in the afternoon would be equivalent to having drunk a few glasses of wine - it's always in an employer's interests to ensure all staff have at least 30 minutes for lunch, and a good employer will insist on it.
If one is expected to deal with path results and referral letters just for patients seen during sessions, what time should be allowed?
- Depends on you, and a sensible employer should be realistic about the time you'll require. Some GPs are comfortable to skip through these sorts of tasks quite quickly, others prefer a lot longer. Our experience is that a lot of salaried GPs end up being dissatisfied with their post because of mounting paperwork, and the longer you remain in post, the more the paperwork becomes, so be realistic about the time you need.
- Our rule of thumb is that, on average, practice-based GP consultations generate five minutes of paperwork on the day, and a further five minutes over the following months. Double this if it was for a visit. So if you're seeing 18 patients in surgery in the morning and 12 in the afternoon, it would not be unusual to within a few months be working an extra five hours on top of the scheduled 5 hours you were actually contracted to work.
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