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Patients delaying GP visits and using internet instead

Patients are using unreliable sources to self-diagnose while 'delaying' visits to general practice.

A survey released by The Information Standard shows that one in six been told they had a 'lucky escape' after delaying a trip to the GP. 

When asked why they had put off the visit, a third of respondents said they “did not want to waste their GPs time”. 

And half of the respondents said they turned to the Internet instead. 

Women (43%) were more likely to delay a visit to the GP than men (37%) and women were also more likely to use the internet for self diagnosis (59%) compared to men (43%). 

The Information Standard, a certification programme for health and care information found that one in five had to be prescribed a stronger course of treatment. 

Ann Robinson, director of public awareness at the Information Standard said: “People are delaying their GP visit for various reasons, but regardless of the reason why, our concern is that people are admitting to self-diagnosing and self-treating in the meantime. Unreliable health information in these circumstances could then have a detrimental effect on their health. If people are looking for health information, they should make sure it's trustworthy so that they can make a fully informed and safe decision. 

“Our advice is simple; look out for The Information Standard quality mark on health websites and leaflets - if you can see the mark then you can feel confident that the information you're reading is reliable.”