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Half of over 50s struggle to see GP on day they fall ill

06 November 2015

Do you find it easy to see your doctor when you fall ill? Research suggests half of the over-50s find getting a same-day GP appointment difficult.

GP appointment
Half of over 50s struggle to see their GP on the same day they fall ill, according to a poll by Saga. Photo posed by models.

According to a poll of more than 9,000 over-50s surveyed by Saga, half struggle to see their GP on the day they fall ill, and a third find it difficult to book an appointment on the same day or in advance.

People aged 50 to 59 find it the most difficult to see their doctor, whether they are trying to book an appointment for the same day (57%) or in advance (34%). 

Kevin McMullan, senior manager of health insurance at Saga, said: "The last thing people want to do when they feel under the weather is battle to see their GP.

"We need to be encouraging these people to visit their GP rather than put more barriers in the way so that they can get better as soon as possible and carry on with their normal everyday life.

Saga Health Insurance customers have access to a free 24/7 GP helpline enabling people to get advice and often a diagnosis from the comfort of their own home without having to wait to see their doctor. Of those who called the Saga helpline last year, around eight out of ten got all the help they needed and didn’t need to make an appointment to see their GP. In fact, around 1,000 over 50s were able to avoid waiting in a busy doctor’s surgery last year. 

Saga's poll results come after a survey of almost a million patients on Thursday found most people have no interest in their GP surgery opening at weekends and that 81% of patients do not find current GP opening times inconvenient.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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