It is increasingly important to GPs and that their teams that clear and consistent upper limits of patient contacts to enable them to practise safely both for patients, and for practitioners.
The recently updated BMA’s “Safe Working in General Practice” clearly outlines that 25 contacts is the safe limit.
Working beyond safe limits, whether to meet patient or policy maker demands generally leads to: unhappy patients whose demands are not met; hostile and critical media and politicians demanding ever more activity; an increasingly exhausted and burnout workforce; and increase in decision fatigue and an inevitable decrease in efficiency, and; a retention and recruitment crisis which threatens the future of the profession and the service of general practice.
Working safely and applying limits to maintain standards of care: increases the value of appointments, in every sense; improves outcomes; increases job satisfaction, and: changes the narrative for patients, politicians and commissioners.
Combined with recent comments in NHS England Board papers that “Demand for Primary Care has never been greater and, in places, currently outstrips supply, resulting in some people struggling to access services.” it is worth noting that “Addressing these challenges is a high priority for NHSE to ensure patients can continue to access and receive high quality, safe care in the community when they need it.”