Headlines: July 4th, 2001

The conference season has brought pleas from the British MedicalAssociation and National Association of Head Teachers for more resources. The BMA maintains that the extra 2000 GPs promised by the government is totally inadequate and that five times that number will be needed to meet demand. The NAHT want 21,000 extra teachers to make up the shortfall. They also want a further 17,000 bursars and 28,000 administrative staff to help run schools. The government has promised 10,000 new teachers during the next five years and plans to recruit more classroom assistants and to increase training places for school bursars.GPs want the average consultation time increased from seven to fifteen minutes. Doctors believe that seven minutes is not long enough to do all the checks needed and talk the patient through their treatment. Research shows that patients have forgotten half of what they have been told them by the time they leave the room. Doctors fear that a government pledge to guarantee all patients an appointment to see a GP within 48 hours by 2004 will crank up the workload will reduce further the amount of time that they can spend with each patient. They also want a cut in bureaucracy to ease the workload .

Because of staff shortages head teachers have to spend more time teaching and have less time for management. This results in a working week of 60 hours and is putting excessive pressure on school leaders and threatening standards. Because of the concern about excessive workloads for teachers and heads the government commissioned PriceWaterhouse Coopers to examine teachers’ workloads and they will report later in the year.