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GPs and their staff encouraged to take regular breaks to ensure safe patient care

By Rob Muddiman on 20 Apr 2016

​The Royal College of General Practitioners has rolled out a new poster campaign which will be sent to all practices in the UK. The poster warns that ‘Your safety should always come first’ and encourages general practice to have similar rules on working hours and breaks, to pilots, train and lorry drivers.

The poster calls for GPs to be well rested and to take regular breaks to ensure the safety of patient care; ‘A rested GP is a safer GP’. 

Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP Chairwoman said: “GPs are at breaking point and tired GPs are more likely to make mistakes - be it a paperwork error or, in the worst cases, missing a potential symptom.

“Most people would not get on a plane flown by a tired pilot, or jump on a train where they knew the driver had already worked a 12-hour day - and most patients would not choose to be the 40th or 50th patient at the end of a long day in surgery.”

She added: “It is in everyone’s best interests, to be seen by a GP who is not stressed or fraught and who can focus on giving their patients the time, attention and energy they need.

“We also hope that it will spur ministers into action to provide GPs with the support we need to do our jobs properly.

The College is calling for greater investment in general practice and thousands more GPs so that we can keep our patients safe, now and in the future.”

This campaign has been put in place as an outcome of the growing concern of GPs being overworked, observed as a potential threat to patient safety, published in an RCGP paper last year.

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