Sick Brits are flocking to overcrowded A&Es because of GP shortage, study reveals

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SICK Brits are flocking to overcrowded A&Es because they cannot get a GP appointment, a study reveals.

Health chiefs say one in four casualty patients do not need to be there and could be treated elsewhere.

Brits have been heading to overcrowded A&Es as they’ve been unable to get a GP appointment
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But half of people say they struggle to see their family doctor — rising to 65 per cent among those with young kids.

Seventeen per cent of adults think they will get tests done quicker if they visit an emergency department.

And 19 per cent believe medics at A&E are more knowledgeable than a GP, the British Social ­Attitudes Survey discovered.

Eleven per cent of the 2,906 people quizzed by the National Centre for Social Research do not have confidence in their GP.

‘CHRONIC SHORTAGE’

Those in deprived areas and parents of under fives find it hardest to get appointments.

On Monday figures revealed patients now face a record wait of more than two weeks for a routine GP appointment.

And the number visiting A&E hit an all-time high of 2,266,900 in July, with four-hour waits rising by a third in a year.

Eighty-six per cent of people agree A&Es are used inappropriately but a fifth do not know how to contact a GP out of hours. Options include the NHS 111 telephone service, the NHS website and pharmacies.


Beccy Baird, from health think tank The King’s Fund, blamed the problem on a “chronic shortage” of GPs.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Patients should only ever go to A&E in an emergency.

“More public education is needed so that patients know where to turn when ill.”

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