We probably never consider how busy our GP is until we really need them.
And when you think about it, you’ll quickly realise that every doctor, up and down the country, is feeling the pressure at the moment.
From dealing with the fallout of a global pandemic, coping with a constant backlog of patients and maintaining a professional service from morning ‘til night, it’s no doubt your local GP is being pushed to breaking point.
So, it’s no surprise that when you need to see your GP, the waiting time for a simple routine check-up will be longer than ever before.
The GP news outlet, Pulse, confirm these suspicions, revealing in their latest survey that waiting times for a routine appointment with your GP will take, on average, more than two weeks.
Albeit a first in the industry, it’s interesting to consider how the past year’s events have impacted GP usage.
For example, are people finding it easier to book appointments in 2021? Are patients avoiding visiting their GP due to worries of contracting the virus?
Well, as part of an investigation into the state of GP usage in the UK over the past year, Ipsos MORI has recently shared its ‘GP Patient Survey’ results on behalf of NHS England.
The purpose of the survey is to investigate a range of patients’ experiences with healthcare services provided by GP practices across the country.
The most recent survey records the data collected in July 2020.
This particular study, commissioned by GP Patient Survey, questioned 740,000 respondents, including 435,000 patients with a long-term health condition, disability or illness, 135,000 carers and 47,000 smokers.
Out of the 740,000 UK respondents questioned in the survey, it was revealed that 35% of patients struggle to book an appointment with their current GP over the phone.
There is no doubt that this is due to the influx and backlog of essential appointments that have been delayed due to the pandemic, with GP surgeries running on reduced staff capacity.
And these delays can also be because patients have a specific doctor that they prefer to see, who they feel understands their medical history and they trust their professional opinion.
But, with this in mind, the survey instead highlighted that 50% of patients don’t have a preferred GP, which means they’ll take another available appointment just to speak with a medical professional.
What’s more, 55% of respondents explained that they could not see their preferred GP time at a time that’s convenient for them, down 3% compared to the previous year.
And for patients in urgent need of medical attention, it was highlighted that 38% of patients weren’t able to see their GP on the same day.
The survey also made it clear that the use of online services is gradually becoming more popular with various patients. According to the figures, 18% of patients book their appointments online, an increase of 3% in the year prior.
19% of respondents are also happy to use online services for prescriptions, again another rise of 3% from 2019, along with 6% of patients opting to view medical records via the internet.
These figures have shown that more patients are willing to trust online medical services to make keeping on top of their health much more manageable, convenient and simpler.
And for those who would prefer to see a doctor face-to-face, these patients looked to other methods to speak with a medical professional directly.
Of the 7% of patients who did not take the appointment offered to them, 29% chose not to follow up and speak with a medical professional, 21% contacted their GP at another time, 12% looked for information online, and 10% contacted another NHS service.
With this in mind, it’s clear GP surgeries across the country are struggling with the volume of appointments being requested, mainly due to the backlog formed during the initial pandemic period.
At Quick Doctors, we understand the immense pressures GP’s are under to fulfil their duties, which is why we developed our mobile-first service, helping to take the strain off busy NHS medical professionals.
Suppose you’re part of the 50% of respondents who don’t have a preferred GP at their current surgery. In that case, the Quick Doctors app allows you to speak with a highly trained medical professional anywhere at any time via your smartphone.
Once subscribed to the affordable service, patients can book an appointment via the app either for a message, call or video chat for unlimited consultations with our GP’s at your convenience.
With same-day appointments available, Quick Doctors gives you the power to be in control of your health, providing you with unlimited appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Quick Doctors can also arrange for private prescriptions to be delivered via the app to a preferred location for patients who are happy to use online services to manage their medication.
So, whilst you wait to see your GP face-to-face, Quick Doctors allows you to stay on top of your health, minimising further strain on the NHS.
Download the Quick Doctors app on the Apple App Store or via Google Play.