Remote working: the blurred line between triage and consultation

2nd September 2020 by Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown

Remote working: the blurred line between triage and consultation

Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown is a member of NASGP’s working group on remote consulting. She has summarised our concerns around the normalisation of remote consultation after its rapid implementation during Covid-19.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, GPs traditionally aimed to run 18 consultations of around 10 minutes each per session (Flaxman, BJGP). Decade-long campaigns by the BMA and RCGP to introduce 15-minute appointments or longer continue, but with limited success across the UK. A 10-minute time limit has been built into the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) and the newest Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA) exam for the MRCGP, effectively making it a standard for general practice for all new GPs.

Yet, this length of UK GP consultations is amongst the shortest in Europe, according to a 2017 study which reviewed the data on consultation length from 178 relevant studies covering 67 countries and more than 28.5 million consultations. The study estimated that considering the rate of change, the consultation length in the UK would only reach 15 minutes in 2086.

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