One GP says they do not have as much time to spend with patients due to COVID and paperwork.
Dr Yvonne Williams was speaking after one Twitter user suggested she was told it was 'one symptom only' per GP appointment.
"Is it ok to ask a doctor about more than one thing when you make an appointment?
"I went today & the issue was dealt with in a few mins, when I asked about something else that's been bothering me I was told appointments are for one symptom only", Niamh Devereux wrote.
Question: is it ok to ask a doctor about more than one thing when you make an appointment?? I went today & the issue was dealt with in a few mins, when I asked about something else that's been bothering me I was told appointments are for one symptom only. An easy €60 imo
— Niamh Devereux (@_niamhdev_) December 2, 2021
Dr Williams is a GP in Co Clare, and told Lunchtime Live most practices are not so black and white.
"I think most practices have a little bit of flexibility. I know in the NHS it's much more strict than here.
"But I think what often happens is we will have a mix of conditions we'll see during the day.
"You might see somebody that you're breaking bad news to... you might be seeing someone else with something that they feel is reasonably straight forward, but that actually there might be a lot of paperwork documentation.
"Maybe a referral for a scan, and a referral to a consultant, to do afterwards.
"So while you might have five minutes face to face with somebody, you might have another five minutes to have your notes done to the standard that are required."
She says up to date paperwork is vital.
"It's very important that everything is documented: the paperwork takes almost as long as the time you spend face to face with the patient.
"So the 10 or 15 minute appointment slot that we allocate to patients, two or three minutes of that are reading over the notes... and then you'll have time with the patient.
"But then you also have time that you've to write your notes and make any follow up investigations or referrals".
'Extra time with COVID'
She says it all evens out across the day.
"We do run over sometimes - you'll have a 15 minute consultation, and it might be somebody who's disclosing abuse in the past or someone with quite significant mental health issues.
"So some appointments will run a few minutes over, some might be a few minutes shorter, but by and large it does tend to even out over time, over the course of a day.
"We don't time it to the minute and bill people by the minute, I think that would be really off-putting... we have to allow extra time with COVID to screen people".
And she says some of the extra time has been taken up with other issues.
"We have to allow extra time now to clean the rooms and disinfect the rooms afterwards - so the 15 minutes that I would have had two or three years ago, three or four of those minutes are now taken up with screening and cleaning".
And she says it's important to prioritise the biggest issues.
"We want patients to be happy, but we also need to do our job thoroughly and safely.
"So sometimes that does mean one issue per appointment, but most places I've ever worked it's not black and white".