GP 10-minute appointment rule axed

GP consultation There will no longer be a minimum length for GP consultations

Related Stories

GPs in England will no longer have to offer appointments lasting at least 10 minutes under changes agreed with the government.

It is one of a number of requirements being removed in the latest round of contract negotiations between the government and doctors' leaders.

NHS England says consultations last on average for around 12 minutes.

It added this change should mean GPs have greater flexibility over how they organise their appointments,

Other changes which have been agreed, and which will come in next April, include enhanced care for the million frailest patients, and named GPs for the four million over-75s,

'Keen to chat'

The removal of the 10 minute minimum slot for booked appointments is one of the changes being made to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), which accounts for a significant proportion of the funding practices receive,

Start Quote

GPs should have the flexibility to decide how long an appointment needs to be”

End Quote NHS England spokeswoman

Dr Dean Marshall, who is part of the British Medical Association's GP negotiating team, told the BBC: "The 10-minute appointment just isn't appropriate any more.

"Some patients just need a quick five minutes with us while other patients need much longer because of the complex nature of their health problems."

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: "GPs are professionals who know what is best for their patients.

"GP appointments are currently about 12 minutes long on average.

"GPs should have the flexibility to decide how long an appointment needs to be and how many patients they can see in one day, using their clinical judgement, on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs of their patients."

QOF is, in effect, a points based system. There are a wide range of targets covered in QOF, each of which has a number of points attached. Those points are linked to funding, so the more a practice achieves, the more funding it gets.

However, there have been concerns, accepted by government in these negotiations, about the number of "boxes" QOF required GPs to "tick".

Around a quarter of QOF points have been removed and the funding tied to those - around £290m - has been transferred to the main practice funding pot.

Other changes agreed will also remove the requirement for GPs to ask patients with diabetes, at every annual check up, whether or not they experience erectile dysfunction.

There will also no longer be a requirement for patients with high blood pressure to go through a detailed, but often irrelevant questionnaire about their activity levels.

A further 100 points worth £162m will be removed from the QOF "pot" to fund measures aimed at ensuring patients are not inappropriately admitted to hospital.

Another change agreed in the negotiation is that from April 2014, all practices will have to offer and promote online appointment booking and repeat prescription requests.

Many practices already have the software with the capacity, in theory, to do this.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 149.


    A/. That is a GROSS exageration - just read the article to see how you made that number up...

    B/. Many, many appointment do not need to be 10 mins long - especially for those with long term illnesses, or example, who need many appointments over time but often only short ones each time...


  • rate this

    Comment number 148.


    Oh so it is all the patients fault, they are all "hypochondriacs and "how dare they make an appointment with a GP unless it is a "genuine issue" because of course people make appointments knowing there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.

    Where do you people read this rubbish?

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    "GPs in England will no longer have to offer appointments lasting at least 10 minutes under changes agreed with the government."

    So does this mean you could be offered a five-minute appointment? Why not a two-minute one? Perhaps they could put an egg timer on the doctor's desk...

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    I sat on a table and a GP examined my leg. He then went to his desk and began typing. I said 'aren't you going to tell me what you think?' They, especially the young male doctors, are keener on staring at their screens than meeting the eyes of the patient.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    I feel that the gov's (previous,this and future) need not to look at saving £'s, they need to look at where they are wasting £'s. Gov's take advice from bureaucrats, quango's and think tanks that must cost £ms each year, advice that anyone with an ounce of common sense could tell them for nothing. This gov' and its agencies have too many people trying to justify their jobs!
    Leave the NHS alone

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Perhaps new photographs are required by the BBC. Doctors haven't worn white coats for a number of years-and never in GP Surgeries (Removes tongue from cheek)

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    You would feel like royalty if you get a 10 min appointment with millionare Gp's. 10 secs is about the normal time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    The concern here is that by not having at least a guaranteed minimum time that battling the dragon receptionist is going to get even harder and people are going to be made to discuss rather personal matters with a non medically qualified person. Surely for quick things the rollout of telephone / web appointments would be better - a medication review could be done in admin time when nothing changes

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    This is great news for anyone who suffers from - Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
    I have a new favourite word!

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    dont worry things will be better in january...remember our leaders tell us immigration is good for the uk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.


    I agree. I know people to whom every answer is "go to the doctor." I was complaining of being 'tired' (as I had just changed jobs) and was told I ought to go to the doctor about that as "it's not good to be tired."


    Call me traditionalist but I don't like to go to the doctors more than two or three times a year unless I have a really geniune reason.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Go private no waiting have as long as you like and get ahead of any waiting list, seems like the way forward. And as an added benefit you actually get treated as a patient and not an intrusion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    A lot of people don't realise for most trivial things you can just ask a chemist as they are trained to advise on common conditions and recommend courses of treatment which frees up doctors for more concerning matters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    It only takes 10 minutes for a doctor to diagnose my problem with Google!

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    No government has ever tried to reduce demand and have continually bigged up the service.
    Perhaps if GPs were paid for what they do ie per consultation you would see three times the number of available consultations. Only problem would be that it would bankrupt the NHS fairly quickly.
    Demand must be reduced by stopping time-wasters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Grow up.
    Yes they may get paid more but they have enormous student loans after years of studying..endless changing regulations & paperwork and responsibility of peoples health & lives.'

    GPs work the same hours as most people in this country - they are just paid an obscene amount of money and bleat more. Hopefully they realised what their responsibilities would be in medical school.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    I'm more concerned with being able to be seen, by a full-time GP who knows my medical history, who at least attempts to operate around my life commitments.

    I haven't experienced this since I lived in a small village as a child.

    I can't get an appointment inside a week at my current Surgery, the Receptionists do nothing to faciltate my comimitments, and I see a new face every time I go in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    There are far too many hypochondriacs, that visit their GP for trivial things that can be easily treated at home. They are never away from the surgery, taking up appointment times when people with genuine issues either cannot get in, or have to wait for an appointment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    5 Minutes ago


    I am marked as a uncooperative patient because I consider that I am consulting the doctor about my health and I will decide what is to be done.


    Perhaps if you were less confrontational?

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    10 minutes! my experience has been after waiting 40-45 after my appointment is due to be dismissed after about 30 seconds and felt was wasting the doctors time. How they come up with these times is beyond me,


Page 18 of 25


More Health stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.