Over 50s struggle to see their GP

Over 50s struggle to see their GP

Recently Jeremy Hunt said the National Health Service makes people feel proud to be British but the over 50s – the biggest users of the NHS – are struggling to use it, according to research by Saga Health Insurance*.

Half of over 50s say it is difficult to book an appointment to see their GP the same day they fall ill and almost one in three struggle to book a doctors’ appointment in advance. This could be why four in ten over 50s think the NHS has got worse over the last year**.

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%).

There appears to be a postcode lottery when it comes to booking doctors’ appointments. For instance, Londoners find it the hardest to get a doctors’ appointment the same day with six out of ten saying they struggle to get past the doctor’s receptionist and more than half of Scots say they have the same problem.

If you need an urgent doctor’s appointment then you are most likely to get one if you live in Wales, with four out of ten saying they can get a same day appointment. However, people in Wales aren’t so lucky if they want to book one in advance as one in three say these types of appointments are hard to come by.

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.

Kevin McMullan, Senior Manager of Health Insurance at Saga, commented: “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.”

*Populus interviewed 9,521 people aged 50 and over online
** Populus interviewed 9,885 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online

Reader's Comments

We'd love to hear your views.