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One third of people pressured to miss or postpone GP appointments

A third of people (3.3 million workers) have cancelled, missed or postponed a GP appointment because work pressure means they are reluctant to take time off, according to new YouGov research.

As a result of this pressure, 34% have made a health problem worse and 37% have stayed at work despite being unwell, according to the YouGov survey of 1,000 people at middle management or below for digital healthcare company Doctor Care Anywhere.

Workers with unsupportive employers are twice as likely to have cancelled or missed their GP appointments (23%) as those with very supportive employers (11%).

The survey also revealed that the young are most at risk: the under 35 age group is most likely to have missed a GP appointment (19%), to have made a health problem worse because of it (43%) and to have been off work with illness for five or fewer consecutive days (29%).

Other findings included barriers to access GP appointments, including:

  • appointment access and times (59%)
  • not being able to book an appointment easily (21%)
  • having to wait for over a week for an available appointment (20%).

Kate Newhouse, chief executive of Doctor Care Anywhere, said: ‘This survey reveals that British employees are facing too many barriers in accessing primary healthcare, which is putting their health unnecessarily at risk.

‘The pressure many feel under to remain at their desks during working hours is exacerbated by their struggle to book and attend GP appointments at a time that suits them. The message is clear, employees recognise the enormous potential of technology and online options to improve access to primary healthcare and potentially have a significant positive impact on their health.’

 

Readers' comments (7)

  • There should be no practice boundaries.

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  • Using a system such as Doctor First reduces the need for employees to take time away from work. We've found employers are happy to provide private space for a quick phone call saving time for both employee and employers.

    If patient needs face to face an appt is booked with out question either same day or around work requirements.

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  • So the problem is that workers do not feel able to take time off work to look after their health and the solution is to make GPs more available 'at a time that suits them (employees)'. Is there any possibility that employers might be encouraged to recognize their part in this by being supportive when staff need time to attend appointments or paying for the private healthcare that will allow appointments at times which suit them?

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  • Thank you Liz Dobson!
    Survey says employers won't let people go to the doctor and so the interpretation is that somehow doctors should work harder and longer! Really?? Really??

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  • To compensate for this shouldnt employers pay for a health service that does routine care in non routine hours.Lets call it co-payment+ health insurance.Or should they pay more towards the health service to fund as sevenday service espouse by the tories and pay more tax.The service needs to be funded for convenience not on a comparative shoestring that it is now.

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  • NHS Budget 2015-16: £116.4 billion, so that would be a gold-plated shoestring then.....

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  • Liz Dawson for health secretary!
    Why change legislation when you can just make doctors work harder and longer for no further pay?

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