Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Time to talk

How much time do you need to talk to your GP in the consulting room about your chronic condition? Ten minutes? Fifteen minutes?
Pulse, a doctor's magazine, has an exclusive today claiming that health managers are planning to cut the length of London GP appointments by one third to cope with increasing pressure on the capital's NHS services.
Official reports outlining health service cuts have been leaked from NHS London and NHS East of England. The latter regional organisation has concluded that A&E services should be cut and so should outpatient appointments following A&E visits. So much for aftercare.
Well, I predict that if you are in London - and probably in every region once they have penny-pinched and pushed more in to GP practices - we are going to have learn to speak 100 words a minute as patients.
What do you think? Can we have a useful conversation about chronic, and often complex, illnesses in such a short appointment time? Or do you think maybe we will have to make more frequent appointments to cover each individual symptom?
Doctors are angry about the cuts and planning to protest next month in London. A commitment to maintaining effective care for patients that I applaud.

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