GP appointments that last only ten minutes are no longer fit for purpose, Jeremy Hunt admits.
The Health Secretary said the complex needs of an ageing population require consultations of up to an hour.
He declared GPs who know patients and families personally are the best thing about the health service.
But he admitted decades of underfunding, soaring workloads and the looming retirement of so many doctors poses a threat.
Mr Hunt told the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool that he plans to boost doctor numbers to tackle the problems.
However, he insisted GPs could do their own bit by freeing up time and directing more people to pharmacists and nurses.
Mr Hunt said: “Many of those GPs that I meet are knackered; they are often feeling at the end of their tether.
“They feel they are on a hamster wheel of ten-minute appointments, 30 to 40 of them every day.
“If our health system is going to become sustainable we have to move to a model where we value prevention as much as cure.”
Doctors yesterday said surgeries were at risk of becoming part of the gig economy with patients booking appointments and getting random GPs.
ON YOUR BIKE DOC
Surgeries could also have exercise bikes for people to use while waiting for their appointment.
Dr Andrew Boyd told the Royal College of GPs annual meeting in Liverpool: “You’ve got to practice what you preach.