Shared GP appointments have potential but not suitable for all patients says College

Publication date: 12 February 2018

In response to pilots being explored on shared medical appointments Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We're always open to new initiatives and innovative ways of working in general practice, as long as they are safe and in the best interests of our patients – and if they go some way to reducing the pressures we are currently facing in general practice, then that's great.

"The concept of shared medical appointments seems good in that it promotes healthy lifestyle advice and the self-care of long term conditions, where appropriate. It also offers peer support that patients might not have access to through traditional consultations.

"Furthermore, it draws on a wide range of skills from a multi-disciplinary team, led by GPs, which can be hugely beneficial for patients.

"The idea certainly has potential, but shared appointments won't be for everyone or every condition and if the scheme is adopted by a practice, patients must be given the choice as to whether to participate, or continue with more traditional GP services. It's also important that all practice team members are comfortable and confident about new ways of working before they are implemented widely.

"We know similar schemes have worked well in other countries, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will translate to the UK.

"We're certainly thankful to Dr Morgan for sharing his idea through the College's Bright Ideas project, which asks for simple ideas that can have a big impact on patient care. It's essential that any new initiative is piloted and rigorously evaluated before they are adopted permanently by a surgery or rolled out widely."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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