Patients avoided going to the doctor out of fear of 'catching Covid'

Patients avoided making a doctor's appointment as they were concerned about catching Covid or burdening the NHS.

Patients avoided making a doctor's appointment as they were concerned about catching Covid or burdening the NHS, survey reveals. - Credit: Archant

More than a third of Huntingdonshire patients avoided making a doctor's appointment in the last 12 months as they were concerned about catching Covid or burdening the NHS. 

It was revealed as part of the annual NHS GP patient survey, which saw people across the district have their say on the service they received in the last year. 

Of those that responded, more than 50 per cent said they did not avoid making an appointment, followed by 21 per cent concerned they would be a burden on the NHS, and a further 16 per cent worried about catching Covid.  

Some 10 per cent of patients said they did not make an appointment because they had found it difficult.   

In Huntingdonshire, 51 out of its 85 practices scored more than 83 per cent satisfaction with their patients, which was the national average in England.   

Kimbolton Medical Centre and Great Staughton Surgery both scored an impressive 100 per cent in patients rating their experience as ‘good’. 

Across the four categories - overall experience, ease of getting through to their practice by phone, ease of booking an appointment and satisfaction with appointment times – the district scored more than 70 per cent, with three quarters of patients saying they had a good experience when making an appointment. 

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Dr Gary Howsam, chair of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and local GP, said “We want to thank all our fantastic GP practices for all their hard work and dedication as they have continued to care for patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing vaccination programme. 

“Our practices have remained open with services adapted to ensure the safety of our patients and staff at all times, including offering online and telephone appointments as well as face-to-face.

"The NHS is here to help and patients are encouraged to seek advice or treatment when they need it.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that the number of Cambridgeshire patients seeing GPs face-to-face has dropped dramatically - as doctors increasingly use digital and telephone methods following the coronavirus crisis. 

NHS Digital data showed 75 per cent of appointments in Cambs and Peterborough took place face-to-face in January 2020, with just 19 per cent on the phone and one per cent on video and online.