A study published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) has found no clear link between the length of a GP consultation and patients’ overall satisfaction with their experience.
Researchers analysed a combination of 440 video-recorded consultations and patient experience questionnaires. As well as having no significant impact on overall patient satisfaction, the study found that longer consultations do not increase patients’ trust and confidence in their GP, or the quality of communication between doctor and patient.
This latest study follows research which found that offering 30 minute appointments to patients with complex health issues can prevent their health deteriorating.
In response, the BJGP recommends breaking with the current model of having standard 10 minute GP appointments and instead tailoring appointment length based on the complexity of the patient's medical condition and other healthcare needs.
Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: 'Sometimes a patient can visit their GP and be in and out of the consultation room in a few minutes. That’s great, and for the patients in question, satisfactory. But for many patients, this is not the case. GPs are also being asked to do more, particularly in terms of prevention of illness and giving advice, and short consultations do not lend themselves to this. GPs want to deliver the best possible care to our patients, and for patients with single, straightforward conditions, this might be possible in 10 minutes.'
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