When Doctors speak of "Time Management" they often mean something more far-reaching than simple timetabling. The advice to "handle each piece of paper only once," or "Cascade tasks that do not require your level of skill" may thus miss the mark.

There are few finite solutions here because the model of GP care we use is essentially flawed - there will always be more to do than can be achieved. But in the natural ebb-and-flow of patient care, the more you understand about what is actually going on, the better prepared you will be for problems when they arise.

There was a time when GPs were able to be the one person in the community to whom people could bring almost any problem they were having in their life, and often receive valuable support and advice.

Today GPs can only provide strictly medical care. But of course the boundaries of this are not clear, and certainly not universal.

When considering working styles, happy practices avoid any sense that 'One size fits all'. They acknowledge the different styles and contributions of their Doctors and make the best use of them.

The first step is to identify what these are, then to match them up to the work that is needed to be done. Of course no single GP can merely do what comes easiest to them - we all have to rise to the daily challenge.

However, if timekeeping is a problem for you here are some suggestions:

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