Lack of face-to-face GP appointments 'turning patients into DIY doctors'

360     0
Some patients struggled to secure face-to-face appointments (Image: Getty Images)
Some patients struggled to secure face-to-face appointments (Image: Getty Images)

Desperate patients are becoming “DIY doctors” after failing to secure a face-to-face GP appointment, the Lib Dems have claimed.

Of people who failed to get an in-person slot in the past year, one in six admitted carrying out medical treatment on themselves or asking somebody else who is not a medical professional to do so, research suggests.

A survey found that among those who said they tried but could not get a face-to-face GP appointment in their local area in the last 12 months.

Some 24% self-prescribed medication online or at a pharmacy without GP advice, 19% went to A&E and 31% gave up altogether on securing an appointment.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This is a national scandal.

Teachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade rridzziquridttinvTeachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade
Lack of face-to-face GP appointments 'turning patients into DIY doctors'Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey (PA)

“Face-to-face GP appointments have become almost extinct in some areas of the country.

“We now have the devastating situation where people are left treating themselves or even self-prescribing medication because they can’t see their local GP.

“The British public pay their fair share to the NHS, but years of Government mismanagement and neglect of local health services has left millions unable to see their GP.”

Some 29% of people have tried and failed to get a face-face GP appointment in their local area over the past 12 months, according to findings from pollsters Savanta ComRes, who interviewed 2,061 UK adults online last month.

Those in London (35%) and the rest of the South East (34%) were most likely to say they tried but could not get a face-to-face appointment.

One in four in Scotland and one in five in Wales also failed in getting a face-to-face appointment.

Of those who were unsuccessful, 32% said they delayed seeing a GP despite being in pain.

One in four said they purchased medication at a pharmacy or online without advice from a doctor, while one in five went to A&E.

Lack of face-to-face GP appointments 'turning patients into DIY doctors'Patients are buying medicines in chemists without medical advice, according to the study (Getty Images)

One in 10 paid for a private consultation and another 10% travelled long distances to find a GP surgery was offering appointments.

The Lib Dems, who said the figures marked the rise of “DIY doctors”, urged the Government to recruit 8,000 more doctors.

Greggs, Costa & Pret coffees have 'huge differences in caffeine', says reportGreggs, Costa & Pret coffees have 'huge differences in caffeine', says report

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said that, as of last September, there were almost 2,300 more full-time equivalent doctors working in general practice compared with September 2019, while there were also record numbers in GP training.

"We recognise the pressures GPs are under and are working to increase access for patients," the spokesman said.

"This year GP teams have delivered 80,000 more appointments every working day compared to last year, and we plan to deliver over a million more appointments this winter by bolstering general practice teams with other professionals.

"Guidance is clear that GP practices must provide face-to-face appointments, alongside remote consultations - and over two-thirds of appointments in November were face to face."

* Follow Mirror Politics on Snapchat, Tiktok, Twitter and Facebook.

Ben Glaze

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus