Five ‘Slow’ GPs: Benefits and disadvantages of running late in clinic


Five ‘Slow’ GPs: Benefits and disadvantages of running late in clinic (How to consult quickly book 3)


This book is the third in a series from Dr Deen Mirza. Deen is a self-help author and coach for GPs, who runs courses on ‘Survival Skills for General Practice’ ( In this book he analyses the merits and ethics of slow consulting GPs as opposed to the five ‘Fast’ GPs from part 2 in this series.

From the foreword by Dr Smitha Addala: ‘This book is refreshing and bold and will resonate with many 21st century GPs while opening the eyes of the older generation. It is concise, relatable and easy to digest. Deen dares to point out the “elephant in the room” as he refers to it and challenges old consultation models, which revolve around patient-centered, holistic care and are still sold as the gold standard to trainees in general practice. While there is undoubtedly a role for this approach, he asks the question of whether this is sustainable in the current climate and whether we need to develop more realistic, doctor-centered frameworks in order to survive.

The first section of the book is a series of engaging interviews with 5 GPs who would consider themselves “slow consulters.” The author has used a cross section of GPs in locum, salaried and partnership roles and cleverly draws out different perspectives and attitudes on issues such as risk management and the commonly referred to “heartsink” patients. The transcripts are thought provoking and highlight that, while there are many reasons and some disadvantages to running late in a consultation, there is still very much a need for this group of GPs, and times when consulting more slowly may be of real benefit.

The second section is an insightful analysis of the interviews presented and the pressures we face as GPs in the current climate. It explores common themes and underlying personality traits, which may lend themselves to a slower way of working. The reader finds themselves unconsciously reflecting on their own way of working, how they fit into the wider system and whether they are happy with this or wish to change.’

From the Introduction: ‘The premise behind this and the last book is to explore what the values and viewpoints are of ‘fast’ GPs versus ‘slow’ GPs. Are some more careful and others less so? Are some more compassionate? Are some less confident? The point of this is not to disparage one style of consulting over the other, but for a reader to understand the benefits and disadvantages of either style. I try to analyse the personalities and values that underpin slow consulting, and will help you decide where on this spectrum you want to be.
This book therefore is not really about ‘How to consult efficiently’, as it is titled. The first two books in the series were about efficiency. This third part is an essential part of this journey, but is really more about effectiveness- hence the subtitle: Does taking more time in consultations make you a better doctor?
In many ways this is perhaps the most important book I have compiled so far. The essence of this work is about medical ethics. Is it right for a physician to think about time, efficiency and stress, or should giving patients your utmost be your over-riding priority? Is it proper and expected for a doctor to sacrifice his or her own well-being in order to provide the best possible patient care? Where are the boundaries? Who decides?’

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