GP Appointment Hours Are 'Failing Younger Adults'

18 To 34 Age Bracket More Likely To Go To An NHS Walk-In Centre Or A&E

23.12.2014

One in eight 18 to 34-year-olds has opted to visit an NHS walk-in centre or A&E when they were unable to see their registered GP, a survey from Citizens Advice has found.
 
The same age group was twice as likely to visit these alternatives compared to patients over the age of 55, indicating that GP surgeries are not meeting the health needs of younger adults.

Though 65% of over 55-year-olds felt that their experience of GP services were very good, only 30% of younger adults felt the same way.
 
Additionally, one in seven in the 18-to-34 age bracket could not see a GP when they last attempted to make an appointment.
 
These findings follow news last week that targets for hospital waiting times are being missed, as more people are turning to hospitals for care.

"GP services need to keep up with 21st-century lifestyles," said Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice.
 
"Long working hours means it can be difficult for younger adults to get an appointment with a GP, let alone one at a convenient time. It is vital that they keep up with how people of all ages want to engage with public services including healthcare."

Expert Opinion
This survey has highlighted some worrying trends, with it particularly demonstrating the difficulties raised when people are unable to get access to GP support in a manner which suits their working lives.

"Such problems are a concern, as there is every possibility that this could place an extra burden on A&E services but also mean that health problems may not be identified at the earliest stage – which in turn may mean conditions or illnesses are not identified as quickly as possible.

"The study is clearly food for thought for the NHS and health services and it seems there are investigations to be done in terms of determining how the needs of this demographic can be met."
Mandy Luckman, Partner