Patients face six-week waiting times as stressed GPs vote to cap number of appointments

Family doctors currently average 41 consultations a shift, each lasting around ten minutes, the British Medical Association annual conference was told.

Dr Satish Narang told delegates Sweden’s GPs see 13 people a day, typically for 30 minutes.

That rate in England would see six-week appointment waits.

Dr Narang urged the BMA to agree a cap “for the sake of quality and safety of patient care”.

He added: “Increasingly complex and intense consultations cannot be safely managed in ten minutes.”

Dr Sridhar Sampalli said 25 consultations a day was considered the “safe standard” in other countries.

He said overworked GPs were turning to drink and drugs to “manage their stress”.

The BMA will consult on what a “safe and sustainable” cap would be. Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, said a cut would leave people waiting “months” to see a doctor.

She said: “It’s a ridiculous situation. It will push more people towards A&E. Some people may die before they are seen.”

  • DOCTORS at the Brighton conference voted to lobby the government to give women free sanitary products as some cannot afford the £156 yearly cost.

Lock out poisoned

GPs have been told to lock their surgeries in the event of a chemical terror attack to stop contaminated patients getting in.

Notices should be put up telling them to phone for help so they can be hosed down and assessed at a designated centre.

Government advisor Dr Peter Holden said the Department of Health had issued the guidance.

It follows the Salisbury attack in March. Crossbench peer Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said GPs had been left “guessing in the dark as the worried came seeking advice”.

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