Future GPs will be able to spend more time with their patients who have complex needs, according to a new document published today.
The Royal College of GPs’ Fit for the Future – a vision of what general practice will look like in 2030 – predicts the end to the 10-minute appointment as well as a raft of other changes that will deliver improvements in patient care.
The college says it is essential to end the ten minute appointment and reorganise general practice so that doctors can spend more time with patients.
The document, for which more than 3,000 GPs, health professionals and patients were consulted, also predicts that there will be an overhaul of the GP-patient record, which will be replaced by a personalised ‘data dashboard’ that will be accessed, accessible by NHS healthcare professionals.
It also believes that GP practices will become ‘wellbeing hubs’ with larger teams offering a wider range of clinical and non-clinical services; that there will be ‘micro-teams’ delivering continuous care; and GP practices will work in clusters, which will allow them to pool resources and people.
AI will also be employed to improve triage systems, claims the report, which also used research commissioned from The King’s Fund.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, described the document as a “vision, not a pipedream.”
“It is abundantly clear that the standard ten-minute appointment is unfit for purpose. It’s increasingly rare for a patient to present with a just single health condition, and we cannot deal with this adequately in ten minutes,” she said.
“GPs we want to deliver truly holistic care to our patients, considering all the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on their health. But this depends on us having more time to spend with patients, and the resources and people to allow us to do this.
“Much of what we envision for the future of our profession we are already embarking upon in some form or another – but we need to make sure that whatever we do is safe, evidence-based and ultimately works to make general practice and the wider NHS more sustainable. In many cases, we’re simply not there, yet.”
The College is to develop four ‘roadmaps’ outlining in more detail what needs to be done to realise its vision and advocating to governments and decision-makers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland how to deliver it.
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, welcomed the report, saying it echoed what the BMA had called for.
“This important piece of work from our colleagues at the RCGP mirrors much of what the BMA has been saying for some time about the direction of general practice and what is needed to ensure its future. Most positively it also highlights areas that we’re already making progress on,” he said.
He said the introduction of primary care networks could see practices supporting each other to ensure that more patients get timely, appropriate access to the right professional.