One in four Brits stuck on a waiting list to see their GP

One in four Brits stuck on a waiting list to see their GP

STRUGGLING to get an appointment at your GP? You’re not the only one.According to a new study, one in four Brits are currently on a waiting list for a medical appointment.
Alamy Loads of us are struggling to get timely appointments at our GPs
Three in ten of those have made an appointment to see a doctor, while another one in three is waiting to see a specialist after being referred by their GP.
And just over a fifth are waiting to have an operation following their diagnosis.
The average adult has to wait four weeks for a vital diagnosis or consultation, but a significant number are having to wait over seven weeks to be seen.
So it’s hardly surprising that nearly ten per cent of people rate their satisfaction waiting times as zero or one out of ten – with zero being “totally unsatisfied”.”Totally unsatisfied”
The research was conducted by UK health and wellbeing provider Benenden Health and Medical.
Benenden’s Dr John Giles said: “Unfortunately, many patients with undiagnosed serious conditions do not always meet urgent NHS referral criteria and often have to wait too long for a diagnosis.
“Early diagnosis is important but a lot of people are more than happy to wait for non-urgent treatment once they know their condition is not life-threatening.
“Waiting too long to have your health concerns resolved can have a huge impact on daily life, not least the major impact on your employment and wellbeing at work.”
GPs are having prioritise potentially life-threatening conditions
“The NHS is an asset that millions have huge faith in, but it faces ever-increasing pressures from new technologies and treatments along with an aging population and increasingly lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes.”
Dr Giles said that with increasing demands, the cash strapped NHS is having to focus on more urgent care and “potentially life-threatening conditions” such as cancer and heart disease, leaving less urgent cases to wait longer.
“Sometimes the answer is to obtain private health insurance, but this can be costly.
“Often people don’t know that there are affordable alternatives to traditional private health insurance that could help them get reassurance and return to full health sooner.”
While a quarter of the 2,000 Brits polled say they feel ‘understanding’ about waiting for an NHS appointment, 47 per cent are left feeling frustrated.
Worryingly, three in 10 adults have been on an NHS waiting list only to find their appointment had been cancelled.
But although half of these were informed as to why the appointment was no longer going ahead, the rest were left with no explanation.
Researchers from also found nearly half don’t know what their current GP’s name is, reflecting the changing face of increasing demands being placed on general practice.
The solution may be to have a phone or digital GP system
Perhaps the solution is to have 24-hour GP phone line, which many of the Brits surveyed said they’d be happy using.
In the meantime, however, more than two-thirds of people are Googling their symptoms in a bid to diagnose themselves.
All this comes after a separate survey by Benenden Health found that mental health was the most popular health-related search with more than 11.5 million searches over 12 months.
Dr John Giles added: “Alternative models to the traditional GP surgery have been growing for several years, with online ‘e-consultations’ the latest development.
“This won’t suit everyone, but for an increasingly digitally-savvy audience that is used to online interaction, it could be the perfect way to access their GP.
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“There’s always the option for a GP telephone helpline as well if the idea of an e-consultation isn’t attractive.
“E-consultations and telephone helplines just a keyboard tap or phone call away could also negate the trend towards self-diagnosis via the internet.
“Whilst researching your symptoms online can be valuable, an over-reliance on ‘Dr Google’ can be dangerous if the information you read misleads you with false reassurance or unnecessary concern.”

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