Plans to shift work away from hospitals and into GP surgeries could slash appointment times by a third, a report has said.
PCTs in London have come under increasing pressure to deliver budget cuts that would see more work for local GPs and less in the city's hospitals in a bid to save treatment costs.
A report by the British Medical Association's London Regional Council said that PCTs must have plans in place to counter the effect of "affordability assumptions", including a 15% reduction in drugs budgets and the introduction of new out-of-hours consultation fees.
The report, titled London's NHS on the Brink, paints a picture of inevitable changes in practice as PCTs face a combination of swingeing budget cuts and a 4% rise in activity from 2011.
Report author John Lister said: "PCTs are being pressed to cut back. But the only way this can save money is if they dump a load of extra work on to GPs and primary care staff."
West London GP Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who is also a negotiator for the GPs' Committee, said plans to cut appointment times were "quite ludicrous".
"Haven't we just been trying to ensure patients have enough time in routine 10-minute appointments? A patient will take as much time as they need for their care. This idea will pressurise the clinicians, potentially causing more errors and prolonging the patients' boredom in our waiting rooms" – Name and address withheld
"It is always the GPs and their staff who end up with the extra workload, but we never seem to get any extra funding for our practice staff!!!!" – Lisa Barratt, Birmingham