Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jroyalcgpracBJGP at RCGPBJGP at PubMed CentralJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralRCGP homepage
J R Coll Gen Pract. 1987 January; 37(294): 19–22.
PMCID: PMC1710590

The importance of list size and consultation length as factors in general practice


It is commonly believed that longer consultations are essential to better care and that this can only be achieved by lowering list sizes. The results of a survey of general practitioner trainers show that, on average, the time given to each patient was longer when general practitioners had lower list sizes, but that for a substantial minority of doctors list size played no part. Although the evidence is inconclusive, patients registered with lower list size general practitioners consulted more and received prompter attention. Doctors with smaller lists worked shorter hours and felt less overworked. However most of the correlates were weak owing to great individual differences of practice style between general practitioners. If a case for lower list sizes is to carry force, stronger evidence is needed that patients will receive more of their general practitioners' attention.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (773K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Morrell DC, Evans ME, Morris RW, Roland MO. The "five minute" consultation: effect of time constraint on clinical content and patient satisfaction. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986 Mar 29;292(6524):870–873. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wilkin D, Metcalfe DH. List size and patient contact in general medical practice. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Dec 1;289(6457):1501–1505. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wilson AD. Consultation length: general practitioners' attitudes and practices. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985 May 4;290(6478):1322–1324. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners