GP Workload Survey Results
This paper presents the results of the 2006/07 UK General Practice Workload Survey. The report has been agreed by the Technical Steering Committee (TSC), which includes representatives from the four UK health departments, NHS Employers and the General Practitioners' Committee of the BMA.
The last survey was undertaken in 1992/3, and considered the workload of GPs. This report provides an overview of the entire workload and skill-mix of general practices in the UK in 2006/7 and is the first under the new contract. Staff in a representative sample of 329 practices across the UK completed diary sheets for one week in September or December 2006.
As the survey was targeted at work in the practice it excludes work done elsewhere as well as any work identified as out-of-hours (OOH) not relating to the GMS/PMS/ PCTMS practice contract.
- GP Partners regarded as full-time (i.e. who worked eight or more sessions¹ per week) worked an average 44.4 hours per week in 2006/7. The average number of hours worked by all full and part-time GP Partners in 2006/7 was 38.2 hours per week
- Practice nurses worked an average of 22.8 hours per week and the average figure for all staff was 26.3 hours. These figures help explain why all GPs² represent 20 per cent of practice headcount, but work 25 per cent of the total hours worked in the practice
- Direct comparison of results with the 1992/93 GP workload survey is difficult. However, average weekly hours for GMS(PMS/ PCTMS) activities, excluding out-of-hours work, are very similar. The average length of surgery consultations with GP Partners has increased from 8.4 minutes in 1992/3 to 11.7 minutes in 2006/7. In 2006/7, surgery consultations with practice nurses took an average of 15.5 minutes
- Salaried GPs account for nearly one fifth (19 per cent) of all GPs surveyed and those regarded as full-time (i.e. who worked eight or more sessions¹ per week) worked an average 39.6 hours per week. Salaried GPs are more likely to work part-time hours than GP Partners and worked an overall average of 23.8 hours per week
- The average number of hours worked by all GPs decreased with practice size whilst the average number of hours worked increased with practice size for other staff groups. Regardless of practice size, GMS GPs² worked longer hours on average than PMS GPs²
- GPs² estimate they spend 72 per cent of their time on essential services and 10% on additional services. By comparison, other clinical staff estimate they spend 58 per cent and 25 per cent of their time on essential and additional services, respectively
- GPs² cover 60 per cent of total patient contacts in practices. The remainder is covered by other clinical staff, with nurses³ covering 28 per cent
- Non-clinical staff cover over three-quarters (76 per cent) of the non-consultation work time in practices. They spend 37 per cent of their time on data input and practice administration with reception work covering a further 36 per cent
- Reception staff covered nearly half of the total time spent on repeat prescriptions (47 per cent). Non-clinical staff were responsible for covering nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of the time spent arranging referrals. On average,chose and book' was used for around a third (36 per cent) of the total time spent on arranging referrals.
You may also be interested in Trends in Consultation Rates in General Practice 1995 - 2006
¹ A session is normally defined as a half-day.
² Excluding GP locums.
³ Nurses' refers to practice nurses and nurse practitioners.