People in Lancaster are exploring alternative therapies because they have to wait 11 days to see their GP
Almost one in 10 Lancaster residents have had no option, but to explore alternative therapies as they’re forced to wait nearly 11 days for a doctor's appointment, it has been revealed.
Boyes Turner Claims, medical negligence experts, conducted research that found those looking to book a GP appointment in Lancaster are typically forced to wait 11 days before seeing their doctor.
The national average across the nation sits at one week - seven days.
The research, which analysed NHS Digital data on waiting times alongside a national survey of UK adults who have tried to see their GP in the last six months, found that 26% of those living in Lancaster had to contact their medical practice several times before they could book an appointment, as there weren’t any bookable slots left or they couldn’t get through to reception staff.
On average, it took them 4.1 days to get booked in, and then there was an average additional wait of 5.8 days before the appointment took place.
Some have been seen on the same day (14%), but a worrying number have waited more than a month in total (10%). Many (32%) said they’re still waiting to get an appointment.
Across the nation, on average, people said they’ve have had to wait at least one week (7 days) to secure an appointment, but one in ten (10%) had waited 15 days or more.
For coronavirus-related illnesses, people have waited 16 days on average from first making contact to having their appointment.
Alarmingly, those who deemed their need as being "very urgent" waited an average of 7.4 days, while those who stated their need for an appointment as only "quite urgent" had a delay of 5.6 days.
The majority of people included in the study (68%) felt waiting times were up to twice as long for GP appointments than before the Covid-19 pandemic, and the data showed that since the start of the pandemic, one in every twenty-five people (4%) has been required to wait more than four weeks for a confirmed appointment.
These delays have seen patients look to other means to see a medical professional, or even try and deal with their ailments themselves.
In Lancaster, 20% called 111 while a further 20% had ignored the problem altogether.
Nationally, one in twenty (5%) had resorted to attending A&E because they were unable to secure a GP appointment, while over a quarter (27%) decided to search for an answer to their issue online. One in ten (10%) had decided to explore alternative therapies.
Richard Money-Kyrle, Partner of the Medical Negligence team at Boyes Turner, said: “The impact of the pandemic on health services has been all-encompassing.
“The NHS has been responding to unimaginable pressure since the initial coronavirus outbreak, and our research indicates that the impact on patients is continuing, especially when it comes to securing a speedy appointment with a medical professional. It is concerning that so many patients are resorting to self-diagnosis, visiting A&E and even alternative therapies simply because they cannot discuss their ailments with a trained medical professional in a suitable timeframe.
“We would urge the public to persevere with booking an appointment with their GP when needed and to seek advice from 111 or pharmacists if more urgent.”