Single issue GP appointments not good practice - health board
6:11pm Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
GPs across Gwent have been reminded that restricting patients to raising only one problem per appointment is not good clinical practice.
Though there have not been any complaints from patients about single-issue consultations during the past year, concerns have been raised by Aneurin Bevan Health Board that patients are being informed that this is the case.
And a report to board members states that “it has also been reported that there are signs in General Practice waiting rooms confirming this”.
Notices informing patients that only one problem can be discussed during certain categories of appointment have previously been displayed by some practices to help better manage doctors’ cramped timetables.
But the health board has been working with practices to improve patient access, and the quality of consultations, and single-issue consultations have been part of this work.
“Clinically this is not considered good practice as this could influence the assessment and may delay an appropriate diagnosis,” states the report.
The board has also been working with Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council (CHC), the independent patients’ watchdog, on designing a poster to be displayed in surgeries across Gwent under the title Making The Best Use of Your GP Appointment.
It suggests that patients, if they wish to discuss several problems at their appointment, let the doctor know at the beginning of the consultation, so a routine appointment can be better planned.
The poster also suggests that patients who require time to discuss a complex problem should speak to practice staff beforehand about the possibility of booking a double appointment.
The CHC has in the past raised concerns over single-issue consultations, but the matter has not been the subject of complaints from patients in recent months.
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