Britain’s shame as our GPs come bottom for time spent with patients

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British GPs have the joint shortest appointments of all family doctors quizzed in ten high-income countries. The poll found GPs in the UK and Germany reported an average consultation length of just 10 minutes. 

Doctors in Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand got at least 15 minutes.

Those in Switzerland and the US had 20 minutes – and GPs in Sweden 25 minutes.

Only seven percent of GPs in the UK and Germany felt extremely or very satisfied with the amount of time they had.

Data was collected by the Commonwealth Fund between February and September last year and analysed by the Health Foundation.

It found that GPs in the UK saw the fewest patients face-to-face and reported the highest stress levels and lowest job satisfaction.

Family doctors in all countries had seen their workloads rise since before the Covid pandemic, but UK medics reported bigger rises than others.

Some 71 percent said their job was extremely or very stressful – the joint highest alongside Germany.

Just 24 percent were extremely or very satisfied with their job – similar to France but lower than anywhere else.

Hugh Alderwick, from the Health Foundation, said: “Just a decade ago, UK GPs were among the most satisfied of any country in the survey, but now they are the least.

“It should ring alarm bells for the government.

“Decisive policy action is needed.”

Prof Kamila Hawthorne, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The forthcoming primary care recovery plan and long-awaited NHS workforce plan will be key opportunities to address the workload and workforce pressures facing general practice.”

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