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A survey of over 2,000 UK adults has highlighted that only two per cent would access the troubled NHS 111 service in the first instance of a medical complaint, whereas a fifth (20 per cent) would put more faith in the advice of their friends and family.
The survey, conducted by HealthExpress and YouGov, looked to canvass people regarding their experiences within the NHS. The results indicated that the majority of people (57 per cent) would still rather see their GP when first experiencing symptoms.
This is despite a third of people (34 per cent) saying that waiting times put them off seeking medical advice from their local GP, with a quarter of people in Northern Ireland waiting a week or more for the next available appointment.
Regionally, the lowest uptake of the 111 service was in Yorkshire and the Humber, with not one resident willing to use the helpline. The region with the highest number saying they would make use of the service was the North East (7 per cent).
Despite concerns with the 111 service and GP's waiting times, almost half of respondents believe the NHS does still provide a good service (48 per cent), however a third (33 per cent) of people agreed with the statement that 'they have felt let down by the NHS at some point in the last five years.'
Dr Bram Brons, Medical Director at HealthExpress commented: "With the negative press 111 received at the beginning of the year, it's not surprising that people are sceptical of accessing the service, however it's a shame as it could really become part of the solution to help our over-subscribed GP's services and A&E departments.
Both telephone and online consultations can efficiently help people gain advice on how to treat an ailment at home or escalate the issue so they see the appropriate professional. As the NHS looks to further digitalise its services, they need to look at how the private sector has pioneered the telephone and online consultation model, and start trying to build confidence with a concerned public in order for more people to access 111."
If you'd like further information about the services HealthExpress provides, please visit our website where you can also book an online consultation with a registered doctor.
Written by Nicola Beckett.