Research by Andover-headquartered Simplyhealth has found that one in five consumers can’t get GP appointments when they want them. The research was carried out in December 2021 and revealed that just under half (47%) of UK consumers tried to book an appointment with an NHS GP in the previous six months.
Among those trying to book an appointment, 40% considered the reason for their appointment to be urgent, yet almost half of ‘very urgent’ medical issues couldn’t get a same-day appointment. While the urgency of the medical need had a significant bearing on how long consumers had to wait for an appointment, one in five were not able to get an appointment at all, and a further one in five had to wait a week or more later to get an appointment.
The research by Simplyhealth, which is ranked 15th in The Business Magazine's 2021 edition of the Solent 250 listing, also revealed that a quarter of over 55s who tried to book an appointment were unable to get one at all.
Telephone appointments still came out highest in the research, with 51% of consumers saying they consulted GPs this way. Less than half (40%) saw their GP face to face and only 6% had video appointments.
Simplyhealth offers health plans with 24/7 video GP appointments and 24/7 mental health counselling services, as well as online physiotherapy assessments. Over the last year, the company has seen a 114% increase in customers making appointments through its 24/7 video GP service, with a 102% increase in people downloading the SimplyConsult video GP app.
Chrissy Fice, Marketing Director at Simplyhealth, said: