Three in 10 people ‘uncomfortable’ to attend A&E if advised to by doctor

Around three in 10 adults would not feel comfortable attending A&E for urgent care if they needed it, a survey suggests.

Some 61% of adults said they would feel comfortable to attend a hospital appointment if their doctor asked them to, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Almost a quarter (23%) said they would feel uncomfortable with this, while 29% said they would feel uncomfortable about going to hospital for emergency treatment.

Just over half (55%) said they would feel comfortable about visiting the emergency department if advised.

And 14% said they would not feel comfortable seeing a healthcare professional in person.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Experts fear the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been lethal after routine care was disrupted, and amid concerns that patients were reluctant to seek treatment.

Research has suggested the UK could experience up to 35,000 excess deaths within the next 12 months as a result of delays in cancer diagnosis and care.

And the Royal College of Physicians said that doctors are worried that their patients’ health may have worsened as a result of service disruptions.

The ONS analysed responses from 1,235 people aged 16 and over in Great Britain who were polled between July 29 and August 2 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

Respondents felt more comfortable about seeking medical advice remotely, it found.

Almost three-quarters (72%) said they would feel comfortable to speak over the phone with a medical professional, while 66% said they would be happy to attend an online appointment.

It also found that 41% of adults said the Covid-19 outbreak was affecting their wellbeing.

Of these, 14%, roughly one in seven, said they were worried about losing their job.

And 10% reported they were worried about returning to work.

Over half of respondents (53%) said they strongly supported localised lockdowns, which have started to emerge across the UK.