Call for longer GP opening hours in new health survey

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Nearly half of doctors’ patients want to see their GP surgery’s opening hours extended to include more convenient times, according to a new survey by a Sheffield health firm.

The research, conducted by insurance company Westfield Health, found 49 per cent of respondents would like more early morning, evening or weekend opening.

Almost a third of people who took part in the poll said they felt the location of their workplace, working hours or other commitments made it ‘very hard’ for them to see a GP at a suitable time.

The survey also found 
35 per cent of people had researched their symptoms on the internet, because of difficulties finding an appropriate appointment time.

Paul Shires, Westfield Health executive director, said: “If an employee is concerned about a health issue, waiting days for an appointment could add unnecessary worry.

“Additionally, if they are unable to get an appointment at a time that suits their work or home life, they could end up avoiding getting medical advice at all, putting their health and wellbeing at risk if symptoms aren’t diagnosed or treated.

“It is critical to both the nation’s health and the productivity of the country’s workforce that patients can speak to a qualified GP as and when they need to, in order to maintain good health.

“Technology has a major role to play in this.

“If the member of staff could arrange an online appointment, the issue can be discussed promptly.”