GPs Welcome Compliance Moves
Dr Ralph Wiles Chairperson
GPs Welcome Compliance Moves, Seek Action On Implementation
General practitioners have welcomed the report and recommendations of the General Practice Test Panel on Compliance Costs.
"The panel's recommendations have been arrived at after an extensive and very thorough study of the real-life cost – not only financial but in time, resources and morale – to general practitioners, nurses and practice staff,” says Dr Ralph Wiles, Chairperson of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners. “It has found quite clearly that people working in primary care, whose priority ought to be their patients, are instead involved for much of their time in meeting a raft of demands, primarily from government organisations.
“Those costs are not simply financial, and indeed that was not the primary focus of this study, which looked in detail at the actual processes involved. The real costs to a practice are in the time that would otherwise be spent on patient contact, professional development or similar medical, as opposed to administrative, activity. And this in turn has a adverse affect on GP morale and recruitment. No one enters medicine with the hope of becoming an efficient bureaucrat,” Dr Wiles said.
“Identifying and then trying to eliminate unnecessary compliance activity is an important part of the answer to solving the GP crisis in parts of New Zealand, and in maintaining GP morale overall. Having produced this report it is important that we do not lose momentum," Dr Wiles said. “A number of organisations are identified in the report as being primarily responsible for the paperwork burden. We will therefore be asking each of those organisations for a commitment to reduce or eliminate that burden, and a timeframe in which they intend to do it.
“We will work with those organisations, on behalf of General Practice, to ensure that genuinely valuable data is still able to be collected efficiently, while minimising the overhead faced by busy GPs and practice staff.
"The Test Panel's report points out that the average practice spends 75 GP hours, 43 nurse practitioner hours, 102 reception staff hours and 48 minutes of other staff time per year on compliance. That's 118 medical staff hours a year, or three weeks, spent completing forms.
"General practitioners and practice nurses are keen to contribute to public and preventative health programmes, and the effectiveness of tackling these issues at primary care level is proven," Dr Wiles said. "Remove the burden of compliance and you give practice medical staff 118 extra hours of patient contact a year, providing better quality care at no additional cost."