47% of patients have spoken to a GP over the phone in 2021, up from 10% in 2020, reveals survey

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29th July 2021 14:05 - Health

47% of patients have spoken to a GP over the phone in 2021, up from 10% in 2020: An NHS survey of over 850,000 people across England and has uncovered a significant rise in the amount of people seeking remote help from their GP over the past year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GP Patient Survey 2021 found that 47% of patients spoke to a doctor over the phone in 2021, compared to just one in 10 in 2020.

Furthermore, the number of face-to-face appointments with a GP has declined, with just 48% of patients saying they had visited their doctor in 2021, compared with 85% in 2020.

When asked about their experience with the health service, 83% said it was positive; showing a slight increase from 82% the year before. On the other hand, 7% viewed their experience as poor, with one in 10 saying they felt there was nothing particularly good nor bad about it.

Around two-fifths (42%) of those surveyed said they had avoided making an appointment over the last year for a number of reasons. The most common answer given was that they worried they would be a burden to the NHS (20%), with 17% saying they were worried about getting Covid. A further 11% found the whole experience too challenging, with just 4% saying they didn’t have the time to make or fulfil an appointment.

When actually making an appointment, 71% of participants said they their experience was good; an increase from two thirds in 2020. Furthermore, three quarter found their GP practice’s website easy to use when looking for advice or trying to book an appointment.

The study also found that more patients felt their needs were met when they consulted with a GP face-to-face (95%) rather than remotely (93%). Furthermore, 96% stated they trusted their health professional at their most recent appointment; an increase from 95% in 2020.



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