This site is intended for health professionals only

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.’