Pulse May 2019 issue - Page 6

6 Cover story GPs working beyond safe levels ‘   T here is a point where I feel cognitively drained; after about 20 patients, there is not an iota of empathy left.’ This Hertfordshire GP’s experience is the stark reality of what it means to be a GP in 2019, and is echoed throughout Pulse’s first-ever survey of GP workload. The results, which saw almost 1,700 members of the profession describe the challenges they face, were staggering and underlined GPs’ widely held belief that they are operating under unsafe conditions. An average working day Pulse’s seminal workload survey has revealed that patient safety is being compromised by high GP workload. Anviksha Patel reports comprises 11 hours, including eight hours of clinical care, the findings show. And GPs working full time have an average 41 patient contacts a day – far higher than the 30 contacts that respondents call a safe limit. Dr Matt Mayer, BMA workload policy lead, says GPs are at their wits’ end, with some ‘making themselves ill’ as they struggle to manage excessive workload. He says: ‘The results of the survey done by Pulse are concerning, and confirm GPs are working far beyond their capacity. ‘GPs currently are making themselves ill in this job, and it isn’t sustainable. Often they are left with no choice but to cut their sessions, retire early or leave the profession. No job should be at the expense of someone’s mental health, family or life. No job is worth that.’ There is currently no official reporting of GP workload; Pulse’s survey represents the clearest picture of a GP’s typical day. We asked GPs to record their workload pressures as part of a snapshot of a single day – in this case, Monday 11 February. A total of 1,681 GPs submitted responses, with others taking to social media to post live updates. We heard An average GP’s day Hours 29% high complexity 37% fairly complex 34% low complexity Pulse May 2019 8 hours of consultations Safe level