Difficulty in getting appointment putting people off GP trip

20 February 2013

A perceived difficulty in making an appointment is the number one reason people might delay going to see their doctor, research suggests.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults by Cancer Research UK found 39 per cent say difficulty getting an appointment could put them off going to the doctor about a symptom they think could be serious.

The perception that appointments are hard to book is up from 36.5 per cent the last time the survey was carried out in 2010; however, fewer people now say they would be too scared or embarrassed to see the doctor or would be worried about what the doctor might find.

Cancer Research UK's Sara Hiom said it was good that emotional barriers to people visiting their GP appear to be eroding.

But she added: "It's concerning to think that something as simple as making a doctor's appointment could be putting people off seeking help for a serious symptom.

"Further work is now needed to find out what lies at the heart of this issue for example whether people dislike not being able to see the same GP, appointment times do not suit or if the booking system is too complicated."

The study follows research last month which found people in the UK are more likely to be embarrassed or worried about what the doctor might find than people in other countries.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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