The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for GP appointments to be longer following doctors being forced to see up to 60 patients a day.

The current standard slot is 10 minutes, however the BMA GPs committee (GPC) believe that increasing the appointments by five minutes would help improve decision-making and service.

NHS England has said that consultation lengths are up to doctors and that there are no national limits for appointment times. However, the NHS Choices website states that GPs spend an average of eight to 10 minutes with each patient.

Dr Brian Balmer, of the BMA’s GP committee, said: “In a climate of staff shortages and limited budgets, GP practices are struggling to cope with rising patient demand, especially from an ageing population with complicated, multiple health needs that cannot be properly treated within the current 10-minute recommended consultation.

“Many GPs are being forced to truncate care into an inadequate time frame and deliver an unsafe number of consultations, seeing in some cases 40 to 60 patients a day.

“This is well above the 25 consultations per day, which is the recommended level in many other EU countries.”

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