The Department commissions and funds independent research into general practitioners’ (GPs) working conditions. Eight national surveys have been published by the University of Manchester since 1998, recording the experience of a nationally-representative cross-section of GPs, as well as reporting on the findings from a longitudinal sample.
Since 2005, the survey has considered the amount of time GPs spend on different activities, enabling us to track the impact of changing administrative demands on primary care delivery, although this has not considered changes specifically since 2014. The results for the cross-sectional sample are shown in the table below:
Percentage of time GPs devoted to different activities, 2005-2015
% time spent on Direct Patient Care
% time spent on Indirect Care
% time spent on Administration
% time spent on External Meetings
3.9 (This was the first time this category was included and would account for the fall in the administration and other categories.)
Figures are column percentages. Numbers may not sum to 100% due to rounding errors. N = 868 for the 2005 cross-sectional sample; 1,280 for the 2008 cross-sectional sample; 1,015 for the 2010 cross-sectional sample; 1,154 for the 2012 cross-sectional sample and 1,115 for 2015 cross-sectional sample. Data is published in the Eighth National GP Worklife Survey:
We are keen to reduce administrative demands on those delivering care where practicable, and the Making Time in General Practice study by NHS Alliance and the Primary Care Foundation
was commissioned by NHS England in order to identify ways to tackle bureaucracy. It was published in October 2015 and NHS England are now working with the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and others to develop plans to support general practice, including through reducing burdens.
The Department has not made an assessment of the effect of changes in the level of administrative demands on the delivery of the other primary care services of optometry, dentistry and community pharmacy.