Views & Reviews From the Frontline

The 15 minute consultation

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3283 (Published 09 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3283
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}yahoo.co.uk

“How long should a general practice consultation be?” seems a boring and irrelevant question, but it isn’t. In the 1980s general practitioners had five minute appointments. A literally standing joke ran: remove the patient’s chair from the consulting room to speed consulting. Speed was good. Pressure, well that was the job: deal with it or get out of general practice. But thinking became more “enlightened”: speed wasn’t always good according to the Royal College of General Practitioners. Doctors needed more time to deal with complex needs, to be more patient centred, for health promotion, and …

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