Intended for healthcare professionals

Head To Head

Patient commentary: General practice needs radical reform, not tweaks like consultation caps

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 09 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1962

Head to head

Should GPs’ daily number of consultations be capped?

  1. Jennifer Skillen
  1. jennifer{at}

My son and I have the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. He also has autism spectrum disorder, and I have hypothyroidism and osteoarthritis. So we’re both frequent users of primary care.

Our surgery has responded to the national shortage of GPs by introducing what patients call “double triage” when we phone to make an appointment. First we are triaged by the receptionist and then we wait at home for the GP to phone us.

Sometimes only a face-to-face appointment is suitable—a GP can’t feel or hear the crepitus in my joints or see how swollen and red they are on the phone—and double triage seems to have helped me to see a GP more quickly. It may decrease the number of face-to-face appointments for the GPs, but it hasn’t decreased the overall …

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