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GPs in England treat up to three times more patients than safety limit demands

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GPs are struggling to cope with as many as 90 appointments and consultations a day – more than three times a recommended safety limit.

General practices in England are carrying out more appointments than before the pandemic but face severe workforce shortages. More than 1.45 million patients waited at least 28 days to see a GP in September, according to the most recent NHS figures.

GPs who spoke to the Observer last week say that almost every day they breach the BM) guideline of “not more than 25 contacts per day” to deliver safe care. One doctor said he had more than 90 consultations on one day.

A conference of local medical committee representatives in England this week will highlight the growing pressures faced in general practice. Surgeries are being urged to impose stricter caps on the number of patient appointments for each GP.

One of the proposed motions submitted to the conference by Kensington and Chelsea local medical committee says “focusing on patient safety” is more appropriate than meeting high patient demand. It says the NHS should focus on “safe capacity”.

Such a move would mean longer waits for GP appointments, but doctors say it would help safeguard patient care and the welfare of staff in general practice.

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Source: The Guardian, 20 November 2022

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