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Some thoughts on the 10 minute consultation

The current 10 minute GP appointment is of course intrinsically unrealistic. Would you expect to see your Solicitor or Accountant for just 10 minutes, with an important problem? Is health not more important to most of us than legalities or money?

It did work at one time - there were only 'Six Minutes for the Patient' in the 1970's!

Historically, GPs have managed this situation by using:

  1. Their knowledge of the patient and their family to "cut to the chase."
  2. Serial 10-min appointments which can be a very effective use of time but is arguably inconvenient for the patient.
  3. Other members of the team to carry out tasks - delegation.

The following may also help:

  1. Does your patient know how long their appointment is for? Often, they have only a vague idea of the time allotted. Receptionists can help you by informing the patient, eg; "Thank you Mrs Jones, so that's at 9.40 on Tuesday for a 10 minute appointment."
  2. Offer appointments of 5, 10 or 15 minutes' duration. Research shows a close correlation between the booked time and the actual time needed.
  3. If the patient brings a list, congratulate them on being helpful (rather than snatching it away!) and suggest they choose the top problem for you both to address today.
  4. If a patient feels their problems are being taken seriously, they are more likely to be happy to attend more than once.

In addition, have a look at How to say it

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