GPs are urging people to make appointments

People are putting off going to their GP, according to results of a survey seen exclusively by ITV News.

It suggests that fears over coronavirus and confusion around new booking procedures mean a third of people admitted they've avoided the doctor.

Furthermore, 1 in 7 said they thought their surgery was still closed due to the pandemic.

Health professionals are now concerned that patients might be putting off dealing with problems, that could lead to more serious medical conditions if they're not treated.


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New systems are in place at GP practices to decide whether patients need face to face appointments, or if alternatives- such as phone and video call meetings- should be arranged.

But this new way of working seems to have caused confusion and uncertainty for those wishing to see a doctor.

According to the survey carried out in the Midlands more than 15% of people thought their surgery was still closed. Almost 50% of people said they were confused about appointment booking services and more than a third of people said they had avoided their GP due to fears of coronavirus, or because of the new booking processes.

15.2%

thought their GP was still closed

48.8%

said they were confused about new booking processes

37.2%

avoided booking an appointment

The figures have caused alarm for doctors and health bosses, who say that it could result in people "storing up medical conditions which may need assessment."

GPs are strongly advising people to come and present any medical problems they have to their GP by going through the booking service. This might include phone conversations, filling out online forms to provide information or as a face to face appointment.

They say that some of the confusion could come from the fact that health care providers all have different technology systems and contact methods - whether they're by phone, online or via an app.

But doctors say as long as patients continue to book appointments with their GPs, the way they're booking them doesn't matter.