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More doctors needed, as patients dislike speaking to receptionists

Friday 14th October 2016
Patients do not always feel comfortable speaking to doctors receptionists, according to a new report. Image: Catherine Yeulet via iStock
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More doctors are urgently needed in the UK, as a new report reveals many patients do not feel comfortable speaking to GPs' receptionists about their symptoms.

This is the finding of a new study carried out by Cancer Research UK, which found that 40 per cent of people in Britain avoid booking appointments with their doctor because they do not want to speak to the surgery receptionist.

As a result, potentially life-threatening symptoms and illnesses, such as cancer, may be being missed, meaning the research highlights the need for more doctors to be able to cope with growing patient numbers and their communication preferences.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK's GP expert, commented: "Diagnosing cancer early is something we have to take seriously, so anything that might prevent people from getting their symptoms checked needs to be overcome.

"It's vital that the recent investment from government is used to attract talented people into the medical profession, which will boost the GP shortage. We need more doctors to cope with the growing number of people walking through their doors."

The report also led to the discovery that 42 per cent of patients delay booking vital appointments with their GP because they want a guarantee that they can speak to a specific doctor, with the same percentage of respondents saying they would only go along to a check-up if it was at a convenient time.

Meanwhile, more than one-third (35 per cent) of those questioned by the charity said they didn't want to be seen to be making a fuss, highlighting the importance of doctors being understanding and reassuring at all times.

What's more, it was found that people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were most likely to be put off going to the doctor because they were worried about what they might find or having to undergo tests. This indicates that extra support may be needed in these communities, with receptionists receiving training on how to be more sensitive to patients' needs.

Written by James Puckle

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