Nice arithmetic here

Chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners’ Committee between 2007 and 2013, Dr Buckman said it is common for GPs to see approximately 36 patients each day, not including walk-in “emergencies” and those seen in out-visits.

This can amount to around 12 hours of face-to-face time with patients and another two hours’ paperwork.

The BMJ article argues the standard 10-minute consultation is too short to examine adequately and treat many patients and that the increased pressure is “now dangerous for doctors and patients”.

If it’s 6 patients an hour then how can it take 12 hours to see 36?

28 thoughts on “Nice arithmetic here”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Anyone who thinks doctors are working 12 hours a day are absolutely insane.

    The problem is that because so many of them are now female, they are only working two or three days a week.

    As bare faced lies go, this one is impressive.

  2. The BMJ says both that doctors are working too many hours, and that ten minute consultations are too short.

    The food was terrible and the portions were tiny.

  3. Come on, be reasonable. How much time does the supporting work take over and above the face to face time in the consulting room. Isn’t there any admin? Consultation with colleagues and staff? Bureaucratic form filling? Records keeping?
    Not that I have any sympathy. They don’t work weekends, and as SMFS says, working part time allows you to work more hours on other days.
    The pension is good, and the pay rates ditto. When they are short of work !) they just invent another ‘illness’. And now, some of the exciting diseases of the past – like TB, once exterminated here – are being reintroduced by our cultural enrichment. What’s more, they are working in the ‘Envy of the World’ with all the benefits of being employed and self-employed at the same time.
    Be that as it may, you can’t take 6 hours face to face consultation time as the whole work commitment – to do so destroys the underlying argument. Now whose arithmetic isn’t their strong point?

  4. The 10 minute consultation is an average.

    Some consultations, like prescription renewal or handing back negative results, take 5 minutes, tops.

    So there *is* more time for others who might need it.

    My doctor does all my paperwork with me. That way less mistakes are made, for both of us. It does mean no non-consultation paperwork time.

  5. Nice reading comprehension:

    “36 patients each day, **not including** walk-in “emergencies” and those seen in out-visits.”

    @Chester Draws

    The 10 minute consultation is not an average, it is the time you have. If you take longer, you go home later. But, people book appointments and don’t turn up, and yes sometimes it’s simple and takes 3 minutes.

  6. This ‘standard 10-minute consultation’ is what, a suggesting? A rule? The result of analysis?

    At any rate, this ex-bureaucrat is in charge of nothing.

    ‘Younger GPs ‘really don’t like’ working long hours’


    ‘says senior medic as pressure piles on surgeries’

    GPs are doing surgeries?

  7. Maybe they should try working 5 days a fucking week.

    I have less than zero sympathy with GPs. They get paid a very tidy sum, even the many part timers, with excellent benefits. Most of their time is spent doling out pills and sick notes and in my anecdotal (family) experience failing to diagnose serious conditions.

  8. Of course to maximise income you have to do stuff the patient hasn’t come for such as cholesterol testing for which treatment for the individual makes near enough no difference but which keeps the statisticians of the NHS happy.

  9. Nice maths, crap logic.

    If you are booking 10 min’ appointments, you do not book 6 per hour. Any sensible plan will include “wiggle room” for the unexpected. Failure to do so is simply asking for trouble.

  10. @Hal
    Unless the Wonder of the World! health service has radically changed since I last used it, the wriggle room is extracted (along with the piss) from the patients, by making them on the doctor’s convenience. (having already waited on the receptionists convenience, of course)

  11. They could save time in every appointment by not always asking “do you smoke?” when you have just described the symptoms of an injured ligament or back pain. That’s a few seconds right there. Add them up, they all count!

  12. They could also save themselves wasted appointments by treating patients the first time they show up rather than sending them home with a ‘You seem all right to me’ before grudgingly giving them the antibiotics that were needed the first time a week later, as happened with me earlier this year.

  13. Much like MC my experience of most GP doctors is negative – they’re fucking useless at best, dangerous at worst.

    As in olden days, they should be paid the same as the barbers from which they morphed.

  14. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    ‘out visits’ – what, seeing people in their homes? Feck off – GP’s haven’t done that in years. Similarly with ‘walk ins’. As if…..

  15. “Some consultations, like prescription renewal … take 5 minutes, tops.”

    I do my prescription renewal requests online so I doubt if the doc spends much more than a minute signing the slips.

  16. “seeing people in their homes? Feck off – GP’s haven’t done that in years”: ours will, though less readily than twenty years ago.

  17. PF
    May 10, 2018 at 11:19 am


    If that wasn’t in jest, surgery has more than one meaning this side of the pond.


    K. I need some education, pls. Over here, surgeons cut people; general practitioners don’t. So surgeries piling up for GPs made no sense. Is the definition of surgery different, or do GPs do surgery?

  18. Gamecock: in the UK a doctor’s (or dentist’s) surgery is where he meets with and treats patients. His office.

  19. Good for Bravefart. He is not a drag on the NHS. We need a few million people as deluded as him though

  20. Rob

    I guess you don’t know that part of the GP stipend is to put you through a questionnaire designed by a higher body. I know it’s frustrating but if they don’t ask those questions they suffer. The irksome thing is that the consulting time is now halved.

    That is where the questions should be directed.

    Let’s not let the service be designed wholly by people who suffered. They do not realise that they are leading to a two hour basic consultation to get a more expert view on athlete’s foot

  21. John.

    How many “seen in out visits” you reckon a UK GP sees? How many walk-ins? F**k all is how many. Walk-ins don’t go to GPS.

    And the 10 minutes is an effective average. Do you think that if it takes 5 minutes that they just sit there until the next patient is due?

  22. The 10 minute slot is what is allowed by the NHS. It’s too short a time for the needs of many patients. That’s why the face time can be 12 hours or more. Home visits are routinely and frequently undertaken, particularly if the GP has a number of old peoples care homes to look after.

    The bigotry of some on here is a wonder to behold. Perhaps they should shadow a GP and see for themselves. The stress levels are enormous with ridiculous government targets, mind-numbing paperwork, bossy, cushy 9-5 NHS management and its unrealistic expectations, where the slightest mistake could lead to immediate deterioration or even death of a patient. Day after day.

    It’s no good just slagging off GPs; you have to stop and ask why they are emigrating, dropping out, going private, or reducing their hours.

  23. I am a Doctor, not a GP.
    Home visits are now very rare, in fact, they are purposefully made hard to get by GP’s who do not want to do them. This is common knowledge on Doctors websites and in the trade.

    GP’s simply do not wish to work as they did in the past and frankly many of them are just lazy and overpaid. The standard of those graduates going into GP is low and the whining self-pitying attitude of those already there makes it almost impossible to reform this part of medicine.

    Part-timers are not overworked. The whining about following a GP to learn what it’s like, is merely an offer to have a Doctor lie to you for a day and hope the professional sheen makes it awkward for you to question their workshy attitude.

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