Sharing control of appointment length with patients in general practice: a qualitative study

Rod Sampson, Jeremiah O'Rourke, Ross Hendry, David Heaney, Samantha Holden, Alex Thain, Ronald MacVicar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


There is little published research into the impact, on both doctor and patient, of handing over responsibility for choosing appointment length to the patient.
To investigate what impact giving patients control of their appointment length has on the patient and doctor experience.
A qualitative study in a single medical practice in Inverness, Scotland.
Eligible patients making a 'routine' appointment were given a choice of appointment length (5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes). After the consultation, patients were invited to take part in a focused interview. Doctors were asked to keep an audio diary and their experience was explored further in a facilitated focus group. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
Key themes that emerged for patients included the impact of the shift in power and the impact of introducing the issue of time. For doctors, important themes that emerged were impacts on the provider, on the doctor-patient relationship, and on the consultation.
Giving patients greater responsibility for choosing appointment length may improve the experience for both doctors and patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e185-e191
Number of pages7
JournalThe British Journal of General Practice
Issue number608
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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