Britain’s GPs are collectively spending a total of 400,000 days each year on collating evidence to prove that they are adhering to strict standards.
The new research, carried out by industry news outlet Pulse, reveals the administrative burden that family doctors are increasingly finding themselves under.
A survey of 870 practitioners found that they were each spending an average of 55 hours a year on the General Medical Council’s revalidation process – which is designed to ensure that GPs are fit to practise.
Extrapolated across the industry’s entire workforce, this adds up an eye-watering amount of time every year (at a time when many GP surgeries are under increasing strain and many patients are struggling to book appointments).
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said: “The fundamental purpose of revalidation is to maintain patient safety and ensure GPs are up to date and fit to practise.
“If it is working properly, it should not be a significant burden for GPs, and should fall out of the existing appraisal process.
“It’s important to get the message out that GPs, despite their natural inclination to do so, don’t need to record everything… It’s a case of quality over quantity.”
Charlie Massey, chief executive of the General Medical Committee (GMC), said: “GPs know that they need to put some time aside to keep up to date with ever-evolving clinical knowledge, to review their practice with a peer and reflect on the feedback they receive from their patients.
“This should enhance rather than detract from the care they provide and patients would rightly expect to be treated by doctors who keep their knowledge and skills up to date.”
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