Appointment Length

The School often receives queries about what appointment length trainees should be able to consult at by the time of CCT. This is intentionally not defined anywhere in the GP curriculum or other reference materials. Historically GPs have often consulted with 10 minute face-to-face appointments, but as the nature of General Practice changes more surgeries are scheduling longer appointments or a mix of different appointment types. Many appointments are now by telephone or video and these consultations may need as much time as face-to-face consultations, depending on the context. In some surgeries the standard appointment length is now 15 minutes.

To clarify, there is no requirement for GPSTs to consult in any format at 10 minutes by CCT. The CSA does consist of 10 minute consultations, but these simulations are designed to be manageable in that time, and do not fully reflect real life GP consultations.

The School does expect GP Trainers and GPSTs to discuss consultation length during ST3. As consultation skills improve during training we expect GPSTs to be able to consult more effectively in shorter appointments, whether face-to-face or virtual. GPSTs should be equipped for moving to independent practice by the end of ST3. One marker for this is the ability to consult effectively in a 10-15 minute consultation. Regularly needing significantly longer consultation times than this may be a sign that a trainee needs further training and support, and this should be discussed with the local programme team.