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Why are Over Two-Thirds of UK Patients Seeking Medical Advice Online?

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Information is readily available online for just about every topic. While this can be a positive feature of the internet, it can cause a few issues for certain industries too. One of these industries where information can do more harm than good is the medical sector.

The details you find online don’t always come from reliable sources, which could mean misinformation is being spread. This leads to misdiagnosing ourselves when we feel a symptom coming on, which can cause problems for medical practitioners.

Our article below will look at the impact that age, waiting times and overall satisfaction are causing more people to look for information online. Plus, we’ll look at how this could lead to more medical negligence claims due to misdiagnosis or not being seen quickly enough. Continue reading to find out more.

How do different ages perceive the medical care in the UK?

According to a study by medical negligence experts, Been Let Down, there are varying opinions about the NHS. Almost 50% of dissatisfied with it because they don’t think their symptoms are taken seriously and this opinion is most common amongst those aged 55-64. Those over the age of 65 are the most likely to be referred to a specialist, ensuring they get the care they need.

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The inconsistencies between age groups have caused trust in the NHS to dwindle, leading to people seeking information online, instead of going through a professional.

Have GP appointments caused the number of people seeking medical advice online to rise?

The Been Let Down study also revealed that around 4% of patients have a waiting time of around 28 days for an appointment and three in ten appointments aren’t face-to-face with a doctor. As of December 2023, more than 6.3 million patients were waiting for treatment, proving how much of an issue GP appointments are in the UK.

With conditions like these, it’s no surprise that people are looking online to diagnose themselves instead of waiting for an appointment.

Why are more people turning to Google for answers?

Searching on Google puts information in the palm of your hand using websites like the NHS, so you can see what illness you may have. Some of the main benefits of using Google for medical answers include:

  • Information can be found quickly
  • You can find reliable sources
  • It can make you feel better about your symptoms
  • You can see when you might start to get better
  • It can tell you who to contact if your symptoms worsen

Why might these issues cause medical negligence cases to rise?

While these are positive features of googling your medical issues, you do run some risks when you do it too. For example, you could misdiagnose your issue, which can lead to medical practitioners doing the same. Alternatively, long wait times could lead to a delayed diagnosis too, which means the symptoms you have could worsen before you get the treatment you need.

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If you’ve suffered a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS. Contact specialists today to speak to someone who can advise you on the next steps. Medical negligence cases can also be hard on your mental health, so seeking the support of a therapist can be useful too.

Shabbir Ahmad is a highly accomplished and renowned professional blogger, writer, and SEO expert who has made a name for himself in the digital marketing industry. He has been offering clients from all over the world exceptional services as the founder of Dive in SEO for more than five years.

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