Leader comment: Free up GPs, but think it through

Tasks currently carried out by doctors could be delegated to nurses.

Tasks currently carried out by doctors could be delegated to nurses.

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The idea that doctors could have longer to spend with their patients is welcomed – not just by those who struggle to get enough time with their GP, but by the physicians themselves.

Doctors have been under huge pressure, seeing far too many patients every day, and a solution to remove some of their workload would be an excellent thing.

Doctors want to have more time and to be able to treat all of their patients with the same amount of care and attention, but sadly, the current system makes it very difficult for them to do so.

Many GP surgeries in Scotland have already closed their books to new patients and are struggling to cope with the ones they have.

The idea that they could delegate some of the more straightforward and routine tasks to nurses would free up valuable time and make the most of trained nurses who are capable of a great deal. However, the idea that receptionists should be the guard dogs, deciding where the patient should be treated when the call comes in, is worrying, unless they are given proper training.

There is always a chance that people could be wrongly assessed and problems could occur.

However, with proper training and if this idea is properly implemented, it could work very well.

The NHS needs to make sure that it thinks through the situation before introducing it in GP practices, but if we can get this right, it could be a great opportunity to revolutionise the GP service.

Freeing up doctors to spend more time with their patients would be a huge benefit to everyone concerned.

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