48-second consults? A Bangladeshi doctor responds

30-minute consults do exist, but "they are the exception"

A recent BMJ study sparked outrage in Bangladesh when it reported that GPs there had some of the shortest consult times anywhere in the world, lasting an average of 48 seconds.

Despite having a population of 163 million and monumental health challenges, the country employs fewer doctors than Australia — about 40,000 compared with 100,000 here.

Full-length GP consults of up to 30 minutes do exist “but they are the exception”, says Associate Professor ATM Aman Ullah of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka.

“These short consultations are definitely having an adverse effect on patient care,” he told Australian Doctor. “In rural clinics, there are a lot of people and only a few physicians, with no booking of appointments, no patient records and no time.”

Dr Aman Ullah