Six in 10 people have been ‘dismissed’ by a healthcare professional, according to research that finds confidence in the UK’s healthcare system is low.
A global survey involving 11,000 people across 11 countries, including 1,000 respondents in the UK, found confidence in the UK’s healthcare provision was rated the lowest, behind nations including South Africa, Brazil, the United States, France, and Germany.
The findings, published by insights company Healthcare Transformers, showed that 27% of UK respondents rated their confidence in the UK’s healthcare service as four or lower, on a scale of one to 10. One in 10 said they never or rarely feel supported by the NHS.
A variety of factors were given for respondents’ low rating, but one of the most concerning was the fact that 61% claimed to have been “dismissed” by a healthcare professional.
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Confidence in the UK’s healthcare system varied between genders. Men were more likely than women and non-binary individuals to express confidence in the NHS, with only 5% of men rating their confidence as three out of 10 or lower, compared with 13% of women and non-binary respondents.
Asked about women’s health services, only 53% of female respondents said their concerns are always or mostly addressed.
Waiting times were a concern, with 39% stating that it usually takes them around two to three weeks to get an appointment with a healthcare professional. NHS waits for routine procedures hit another record last year, as the health service continued to grapple with worker shortages and delays stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the time taken to be seen in the UK was ranked average among the 11 countries assessed in the Healthcare Transformers research. In Germany, for example, almost half (48%) of respondents said they had to wait more than two weeks for an appointment.
The research also found that:
- 57% of UK respondents have experienced a delay in diagnosis – which is potentially of concern to occupational health professionals and employers with staff who are unable to work because of their symptoms.
- 85% of UK respondents regularly use Google to seek advice for their symptoms before talking to a healthcare professional.
- One in five female respondents across all countries has not been for a cervical smear test in the past five years, or never at all. In the UK, 23% had a smear test within the past 12 months; testing is recommended every three to five years in the UK, depending on age.
- 43% of UK women admit to not undergoing regular screenings for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and 15% of women in the UK don’t know what HPV is.