BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
GPs demand more time with patients
Length of consultations varied widely across Europe
GPs have called for more time with patients after a survey revealed that Britons have some of the shortest medical consultations in Europe.

The survey, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that GPs spend an average of just nine minutes with each patient.

This compares to an average of 15 minutes in Switzerland and Belgium and a European average of almost 11 minutes.

GP consultations
Switzerland 15.6 mins
Belgium 15 mins
Netherlands 10.2 mins
UK 9.4 mins
Spain 7.8 mins
Germany 7.6 mins
The British Medical Association said the finding highlighted the fact that British GPs were overworked and more doctors were needed.

Researchers from Ghent University looked at 190 GPs from six European countries with different healthcare systems. They videotaped and analysed appointments with 3,674 patients.

Their study revealed huge variations across Europe in the length of time GPs spend with patients.

It found that the longest consultations take place in Switzerland, lasting an average of 15.6 minutes.

The shortest occur in Germany, lasting just 7.6 minutes on average. In Britain, the average consultation with a GP lasts 9.4 minutes - well below the European average of 10.7 minutes.

City divide

The survey also found that GPs working in cities spend more time with patients than those working in rural areas - approximately 1.5 times longer.

Doctors also spend more time with female patients - approximately one minute extra compared to men.

Predictably, consultations lasted longer when patients presented with new health complaints. This caused consultations to run for 51 seconds longer on average.

Consultations were also longer if the patient presented with psychological problems.

Similarly, GPs spend longer with patients the older they are - consultations lengthened by 1.2 seconds each year.

Dr Laurence Buckman of the British Medical Association said the average consultation should be much longer.

"Our ideal would be consultations which are longer than 10 minutes. Many GPs already achieve this but others simply cannot. It is very difficult.

"We need a lot more doctors and a lot more nurses if we are to get longer consultations."

He added: "We also need the government to stop telling patients that they should go to their doctor at the drop of a hat. That is stoking the problem."

See also:

26 Oct 00 | Health
Internet links:


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

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes