GPs are misdiagnosing patients because appointment slots are too short, a study has found.
Doctors are afforded just ten minutes to see patients on average, with more than one in three practitioners saying they failed to properly diagnose cases because they did not have enough time to fully assess them.
A massive 95 per cent of those surveyed said the time slots they get to see patients were too short to do their jobs safely.
More than 70 per cent of those polled said they needed at least 15 minutes per person to properly assess them, with 30 per cent saying at least 20 minutes were needed.
The research, conducted by law firm Slater and Gordon, found that more time to see patients was the biggest priority cited by GPs, when asked about what would improve their working lives.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It has been clear for some time that the standard 10-minute appointment is no longer fit for purpose.
“As GPs, we want to be able to deliver truly holistic care to our patients.
“But when you consider that very few patients now come to us with just one health-related condition, and that we are increasingly up against the clock in consultations, this is simply not possible and in some cases it could be unsafe.”
Dr Eleanor Holmes, who qualified as a GP 11 years ago, said “for most GPs it’s like you’re on a treadmill”.
The doctor, who had taken a sabbatical because she could not find a way to make it “healthy or safe” to continue working, said a typical workload is 30 patients a day over 10 to 12 hours.
She added that while most GPs want to do their very best for their patients, “the system will not let them.
“Often doctors burnout, suffer significant mental health problems, or leave the profession.”