Significant GP time spent on minor medical problems

A reported 88 per cent of GPs spend up to a quarter of their time dealing with minor medical issues that do not require direct attention from either a nurse or a GP, according to a study conducted by the insurer Aviva.

The views of over 200 GPs were canvassed in the company’s bi-annual Health of the Nation study which revealed that GPs spend nearly three quarters of their time (74 per cent) with patients. However, one in four (23 per cent) say that only around a quarter of this time is spent dealing with medical issues that require a GP’s attention.

The research also reveals that nearly half of GPs (48 per cent) feel that a significant amount of their time is spent dealing with patients who do not look after themselves. Over three quarters (78 per cent) are concerned that their patients have unrealistic expectations in relation to their own health and the support available from their GP.

Even when the GP is the most appropriate person to help, the research reveals that they still have difficulties making referrals in many cases. Worryingly, 42 per cent of GPs have not been able to refer patients for some treatments because they are not available to them in their area. This is particularly true in the case of complex medical conditions such as work related stress (53 per cent), chronic fatigue syndrome (60 per cent), eating disorders (53 per cent) and food allergies (56 per cent).  

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