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Day in a Life of a GP

GENERAL PRACTITIONERS by Dr Andrew Wright 6th May 2015

General background Information:

  • Around 25% of all doctors are GP's, 30% are Hospital Consultants and the rest are either Junior Grades or in training to become GP's or consultants.

  • There are around 68 GP's per 100,000 people - the ideal is 84 per 100,000

  • The UK has generally much lower doctor levels than the rest of the EU

  • 90% of all NHS activity takes place is GP Surgeries / Primary Care - this is despite only having 9% of the NHS budget.

  • GP consultations have risen over the past 15 years from around 300 million per year to around 380 million per year in the UK

Current Situation:

  • There is a huge crises about to happen in General Practice as we are having to deal with an ageing population suffering with multiple complex illnesses and still are expected to deal with this in a 10 minute consultation.

  • The number of over 80's is above 10 million now and rising every year.

  • One third of all new GP training posts are unfilled - no one wants to do it anymore because of the stress and pace of work.

  • Around half of all GP's over 50 year's old plan to retire early because of burnout.

  • 10% of all new GP's plan either to emigrate or do something else.

  • 10% of GP's surgeries are understaffed and cannot recruit new GP's

  • Around 100 are in danger / threat of imminent closure.

  • Indemnity fees for have risen in the past two years from around £3000 / year to £10,000 / year for a daytime GP.

  • This rises up to £30,000 / year if the GP also works in Out of Hours Services and there is a real danger of Out of Hours Care collapsing within the next few months.

  • A hospital Consultant will pay less than £1000 / year as they are mainly covered by Trust Indemnity.

  • Therefore as it stands a junior doctor deciding to become a GP has to be expected to take at least a £9000 pay cut compared to a hospital doctor to cover this cost and this is not helping the already dire situation facing General Practice faces.

GPs at Bolton Community Practice

  • We hope at BCP we will be able to cope with any problems because of our new GP partners and our expanding excellent Nursing Staff.

  • A personal plea...

    • Do not bring a list of problems - 2 at the most!

    • In 10 minutes, we have to listen to your problem, examine you, work out a plan of action and execute it, arrange tests or referrals and then write it all up in such a way that is medico-legally correct...for each problem!

    • You only need a few people in a surgery coming with lists to put you an hour behind - an hour that we do not have as we have already given up on having a dinner break!

    • Please book a double appointment or tell the GP what is on your list so that the most important can be dealt with first.

    • People invariably leave the most important thing till right at the end of a consultation.

An Average Day in the Life of Dr Wright, GP at Bolton Community Practice

  • In Some ways there is no such thing as an average day. Around 20% of my work is unexpected on the day problems. However I have outlined a typical day below.

  • I am contracted and paid to work as a salaried employee of BCP two 3.75 sessions per day Monday to Friday. Eight of these are clinical sessions and two are administrative sessions dealing with education both personal and for the practice and also ensuring we attain our clinical targets.

  • A typical day would be:-

08:15Arrive and deal with emails, prescriptions, urgent queries
09:00Morning surgery where I see on average around 16-18 patients per surgery
12:30Surgery usually finishes around this time and then I have to deal with telephone messages and consultations
12:30 - 13:30Home visits. These can vary from no visits, usually 2-3, but as many as 9 or 10 requests on rare occasions per partner. We do try and deal with as many of these requests in other ways as we can e.g. phone advice, as we do not always need to visit. Visits take much longer than surgery consultations or phone calls and if we do not have to, it does saves lots of valuable time. 
13:30 - 14:50This time is spent reading and dealing with around 60 blood and other test results and also going through all our clinical correspondence from other people, e.g. the hospital. This is usually about 50 letters per day. We also have to fill in insurance forms and other non-NHS documents.
14:50 - 17:45Evening Surgery starts

  • Total usually around 9.5 hours (despite only being paid to do 7.5 hours). The problem often arises where we have to deal with an urgent unexpected problem and this can make the above impossible and we have to catch up outside of hours.


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