Nearly two-thirds of Britons no longer trust their doctor and one in 10 rush to A&E for treatment when a visit to the doctor would suffice, according to a new OnePoll survey by SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services.
The survey of 2,000 people found that having to wait days for appointments, and a perception that doctors are often trying to rush them out of the surgery, suggests that some members of the public now have a ‘hospital only’ mentality. This mindset is particularly strong among 18-24 year olds where more than a quarter of respondents stated they would rush to A&E rather than waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
For non-urgent ailments, most Britons are prepared to wait up to five days for a doctor’s appointment but respondents said the average wait was up to two weeks. Nearly a third felt they would get more attention if they went straight to A&E no matter what the ailment, while a similar proportion stated they have to wait too long to see a doctor unless they claimed the matter was an emergency.
The survey did show the influence the Internet is having on self-diagnosis. Over 40 per cent use Internet searches to first try and establish what it is wrong before contacting their doctor or going to A&E. However, what is concerning from the survey is that 11 per cent said they called an ambulance to take them to A&E when a doctor’s appointment would have sufficed, and 35 per cent are not registered with a GP. Again, this was higher among 18-24 year olds with one in five confirming they have called upon ambulances unnecessarily, and two in five yet to register with their local GP.
The most common ailments Britons would rush straight to A&E for, rather than going to the doctor include:
- Broken limb – 68 per cent
- Anything unbearable – 27 per cent
- Twisted wrist / ankle – 23 per cent
- Unusual rash – 14 per cent
- Temperature – 6 per cent
David Downing, director of health at SAS UK, said: “Britons are experiencing up to a two-week wait to see a doctor, making patients head to A&E unnecessarily. This is not only contributing to rising admission rates but creating a ‘hospital only’ mentality in the UK, especially among the younger generation. Unless this changes, A&E departments will face even greater pressure in the future. Currently it is a vicious circle that is putting both doctors and hospitals under huge strain. This situation is not sustainable and given the economic situation a new approach is needed. By harnessing big data through analytics, the health service could identify the underlying factors contributing to higher admission rates, and reveal new insights and patterns to help improve patient service.”