At the moment the average consultation time with a GP in the UK is only 10 minutes and this can be far too short for many more complex cases. Now, based on new training for all practice staff, Scottish GPs will be freed from some administrative tasks they currently undertake and support staff will gain the extra skills needed to do this.
Administration time spent by GPs has been measured by the RCGP:
‘This increase in workload is due to both an increase in patients requiring appointments, particularly from patients experiencing multi-morbidities, but also due to the vast amounts of paperwork GPs are expected to complete. The Roland Commission reported that GPs currently spend 11% of time on administration tasks. if half of this work was completed by administrative staff, this would equate to 1,400 more full time GPs who would be available to provide continuity.’
In addition an important feature of the training will be that for practice nurses where their skills will be enhanced to allow them to deal with patients with multiple health conditions without the need to always consult GPs before making decisions.
Often critical of the Scottish Government in the past, the BMA have welcomed the news:
‘This is a welcome investment that will help towards the continuing development of practice staff. Practice managers, practice nurses, receptionists and health care assistants are all essential to the future of general practice.’