Great expectations? GPs’ estimations of time required to deliver BMJ’s ‘10 minute consultations’

Stephen Bradley*, Alice M Harper, Nigel Taylor, Harriet Delap, James Girkin, Carol Sinnott, Jessica C Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Objectives
To estimate the time required to undertake consultations according to BMJ’s 10-minute consultation articles.
To quantify the tasks recommended in 10-minute consultation articles.
To determine if, and to what extent, the time required and the number of tasks recommended have increased over the past 22 years.

Design
Analysis of estimations made by four General Practitioners of the time required to undertake tasks recommended in the BMJ’s 10 minute consultations articles.

Setting
Primary care in the United Kingdom.

Participants
Four doctors with a combined total of 79 years’ experience in the UK National Health Service (NHS) following qualification as general practitioners.

Main outcome measures
Median minimum estimated consultation length (the estimated time required to complete tasks recommended for all patients) and median maximum estimated consultation length (indicates the estimated time required to complete tasks recommended for all patients and the additional tasks recommended in specific circumstances). Minimum, maximum and median consultation length, reported for each year and for each five year period.

Results
Data was extracted for 44 articles. The median minimum and median maximum estimated consultation duration were 15.7 minutes (interquartile range 12.6 to 20.9) and 28.4 minutes (interquartile range 22.4 to 33.8) respectively. A median of 17 tasks were included in each article. There was no change in durations required over the 22 years examined.

Conclusions
The approximate times estimated by GPs to deliver care according in 10 minute consultations exceeds the time available in routine appointments. ‘10 minute consultations’ is a misleading title that sets inappropriate expectations for what GPs can realistically deliver in their routine consultations. While maintaining aspirations for high quality care is appropriate, practice recommendations need to take greater account of the limited time doctors have to deliver routine care.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere079578
JournalBMJ Open
Volume14
Issue number2
Early online date26 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024.

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