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Most Britons Do Not Trust Their Local Doctor

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jan 2013
Nearly two-thirds of Britons no longer trust their doctor, while and one in 10 rush to the emergency room (ER) for treatment when a visit to the doctor would suffice, according to a recent survey.

The OnePoll survey by SAS (Cary, NC, USA), a world leader in business analytics software and services, polled 2,000 people on their healthcare perceptions. The results showed that Britons have to wait days for appointments, perceiving that doctors are often trying to rush them out of the surgery, which has resulted in nearly a third of the public now having a “hospital only” mentality, feeling they would get more attention if they went straight to ER, no matter what the ailment. A similar proportion stated they have to wait too long to see a doctor unless they claimed the matter was an emergency.

For nonurgent 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. The survey also showed the influence the Internet is having on self-diagnosis. Over 40% use Internet searches to first try and establish what it is wrong before contacting their doctor or going to the ER. However, 11% of those surveyed said they called an ambulance to take them to an ER when a doctor's appointment would have sufficed, and 35% are not even registered with a general practitioner (GP).

This mindset is particularly strong among 18-24 year olds, where more than a quarter of respondents stated they would rush to ER rather than waiting for a doctor's appointment, 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 the ER for, rather than going to the doctor, include broken limbs (68%), anything unbearable (27%), twisted wrists or ankles (23%), unusual skin rashes (14%), and high temperature (6%).

“Britons are experiencing up to a two-week wait to see a doctor, making patients head to A&E unnecessarily,” said David Downing, director of health at SAS UK. “This is not only contributing to rising admission rates but creating a 'hospital only' mentality in the UK, especially among the younger generation. 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.”

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