The Royal College of GPs has called for longer consultation times and longer GP training in a manifesto targeted at whichever party wins the election.

The document, Leading the Way: high quality care for all through general practice, includes a range of proposals designed to “produce a healthier society and promote healthier lifestyles”.

The college argues that longer consultations, which currently last around eight minutes, are needed because the ageing population means more patients will have long term and increasingly complex conditions, requiring GPs and patients to have more time together to discuss care and treatment options.

The manifesto, which is divided into three sections, makes five main recommendations:

  • Longer training for GPs
  • Continued support for the development of GP “federations”
  • Better access to talking therapies
  • Better and faster access to diagnostic tests
  • Better services for socially excluded groups

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said: “Our health service faces a huge challenge: how to respond to reduced funding without reducing the quality of the services we provide, or the quality of the care our patients deserve. The RCGP is up for the challenge.”