Appointment Anxiety sees over a third of Brits missing out on vital GP help

19 November 2020

Co-op Health

  • Two – fifths (38%) have purposely delayed visiting a GP due to appointment anxiety
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) have run out of prescribed medication as a result of putting off going to the doctor

Visiting your GP is often a necessity, yet in the COVID era many have failed to access the help they need. New research released today from Co-op Health reveals that during the pandemic over a third (38%) of UK adults have delayed booking GP appointments.

Increased feelings of anxiety amongst UK adults is a key reason, with over two-fifths (41%) revealing their feelings on booking appointments have changed since the virus took hold. Prior to the start of the pandemic in the UK, almost a third felt comforted (27%) and relaxed (26%) when seeing their GP, yet the majority now admit feelings of anxiety (23%) and nervousness (20%).

It seems the younger generations are the most likely to avoid getting medical help. Almost half (45%) of under 35- year olds reported feeling pressure from work not to attend their GP appointments, yet over a third (34%) of 18-44-year olds have run out of prescribed medicines as a result to putting off seeing a doctor, vs only 3% of those aged 55+.

While for the last few months video and phone consultations have been made available where needed, over half of 18-34-year olds (59%) have delayed themselves booking a GP appointment vs a fifth (22%) of those over 65. The main reason for those in the 18-34 age bracket was due to putting it at the back of their mind and not prioritising it, whilst for the older generations it was due to thinking they’d get better without seeing a doctor.

When looking at the impact this had, one in ten UK adults (14%) admitted that it resulted in their symptoms becoming much worse, and around the same amount of people (11%) claimed that their illness lasted much longer than it should have.

However, with a second lockdown being enforced, research reveals convenience is key to building confidence.

For a third (32%) of people, being able to get a same day appointment would make people more open to visiting their GP and a further third (32%) would feel more confident if they could book and manage their appointments online.

Neil Stewart, Pharmacy Superintendent at Co-op Health says: “It’s understandable that people may feel concerned when seeking medical advice at this time. We’ve seen an unprecedented surge in demand for our app across all ages and locations throughout England. People who wouldn’t normally manage their health and wellbeing needs online are turning to convenient ways to do so and many doctors are also offering video or phone consultations. The most important thing is not to delay seeking professional advice as this can lead to increased worry and early diagnosis and treatment is always best.”

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Psychologist and TV Personality, commented: “It’s surprisingly common to feel anxious about medical appointments, especially when you are not sure what the outcome may be, however you’ll feel more anxious if you leave it to long, particularly when experiencing symptoms. Not only will your medical illness possibly worsen, it’s difficult to keep a clear mind if you are worried about the unknown.”

Ends For more information contact: Maya Powell | Maya.Powell@coop.co.uk | 07773 096851 Lauren Pogson | Lauren.pogson@coop.co.uk | 07702 505626

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Find out more about Co-op Health here.