The effort to control time in the ‘new’ general practice

Authors


Address for correspondence: Sara MacBride-Stewart, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WT
e-mail: macbride-stewarts@cf.ac.uk

Abstract

Since the 1980s and 1990s doctors in the UK have reported a lack of time; this has been reproduced in the reorganisation of work through various contracts and regulatory mechanisms. I draw on interviews with 32 General Practitioners (GPs) in Wales about their everyday work, focusing on accounts about the limited nature of their time. I use Adams’ analysis of the rationalisation of work time through the processes of commodification, compression, and colonisation, to explore tensions between traditional and new ways of doctoring. While it was possible to find evidence of traditional ways of managing time that shaped the activities of doctors and controlled those activities, the doctors were not passive participants in the rationalisation of work time. Rather they actively modified its processes using notions of professionalism that are aligned to traditional doctoring, and which offer new ways of doing and being a professional.

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