Half of Britons who needed to see a GP recently didn’t or couldn't do so

Joanna MorrisData Journalist
March 23, 2023, 10:25 AM GMT+0

Health problems worsened for 16% of the Britons who say they were unable or unwilling to see their doctor

Many Britons are going without the medical help they need because they can’t see their GPs in time – and some have given up trying.

A YouGov survey conducted in mid-February found that within the preceding six months, 54% of Britons had experienced health problems they thought warranted a GP’s attention, but half of these people say they did not see a GP every time they thought they needed to – a figure equivalent to 28% of all Britons.

Three in ten Britons who thought they needed a GP but didn’t see one say it was because they couldn’t get through to their surgery

An inability to contact their doctors’ surgery is the most common reason Britons gave for not seeing their GP when needed, with 31% of those who sometimes didn’t make a needed GP visit saying they gave up trying after struggling to get through. (Respondents could name more than one reason and many did.)

Three in ten of those who suspected they needed a GP but didn’t see one (29%) say they’d hoped the problem would go away on its own.

One in five Britons who needed a GP but didn’t see one (21%) say it was because they were unable to get a timely appointment, while 11% couldn’t get one to fit around their working hours.

With the NHS facing significant challenges in recent months, the results reveal that one in seven (15%) of those who thought their ailment was significant enough to warrant a GP’s attention but didn’t visit say they refrained from getting in touch because they did not want to put pressure on the NHS.

Likewise, those same NHS pressures may have led some to assume they would be unable to get an appointment: 20% of Britons who thought they should seek a GP’s help but did not do so say their expectation they wouldn’t get an appointment is why.

Most continue to be troubled by issues they did not see the GP for

For 16% of those who thought they needed to see a GP but didn’t, their condition had worsened a month later, while for 31%, it remained just as significant.

Just 11% say their problem went away completely, though 35% say it lessened somewhat within that month.

Picture: Getty

See full tables here

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