This is the third in a series of posts based on the results of our survey of KBF supporters. The three key findings in the area of heath and GP services are:
- Most people had experienced problems such as stress or a general deterioration in health over the past six months
- Over half expect a deterioration on life expectancy over the next five years
- Three quarters want a named GP they can see in person.
5,416 people took part in the survey in the week up to Monday 21st August 2020. A quarter of respondents said they were KBF members, half followed KBF on social media or used the KBF web site, a quarter did not follow KBF. There was a good spread of occupations. The five largest job groups (each with at least 300 respondents) are Health/Nursing/Medical Care, Hospitality/Personal Services, IT/Digital, Finance/Property/Law and Education.
I will publish further extracts and announce these on my twitter feed where you can follow me. @TheGoodStatsMan #TheGoodStatistician.
Most Had Experienced Health Problems in the Last Six Months
The majority had experienced health problems in the last 6 months:
- 62% said “stress, isolation, financial difficulties or other problems have had an adverse impact on my health”
- 42% said “my health has deteriorated in other ways (e.g. I gained weight, drank more, or been less active)”
In addition to this 31% had avoided using the NHS (in circumstances they would normally do so) and 29% had been unable to get the help they needed from my GP or the NHS. 46% had experienced problems helping family members or friends with health problems during the past six months.
Concerns for the Future of Healthcare and Life Expectancy
The vast majority (87%) feel their own actions are most important in determining their own health (10% selected medical help/NHS treatments).
When asked about their health in 2022 and beyond:
78% agree they are worried about their own access to good healthcare. 51% agree strongly, 10% disagree.
71% agree health inequalities need to be addressed. 50% agree strongly, 6% disagree.
Over half (57%) feel life expectancy will decrease over the next five years. 9% expect life expectancy to increase, 33% stay the same.
A Named GP I Can See in Person
When asked about the service from their local GP practice in 2022 and beyond three quarters wanted in person consultations, and a specific/named GP who I was able to see when I needed to do so.
Written in comments suggest that many are interested in more of a focus on public health and wellbeing, particularly nutrition advice, more alternative medicine or holistic therapies, including homeopathy and natural remedies.
0.5% Minority Had Tested Positive for Covid
18% suffered from conditions associated with higher rates of Covid-19 mortality. These conditions were generally mild (54%) or intermediate (34%). Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Reduced Kidney Function, Stroke, Dementia or other Neurological disease. These conditions are taken from an openSafely research paper by Williamson et al published in Nature in June 2020 and are associated with higher risks of death with Covid-19. 29 respondents (0.5%) had tested positive for Covid-19, 14% had experienced symptoms associated with Covid-19 but not tested positive.
The survey report was submitted to the House of Lords committee on Life Post Covid on August 31st. The report stated:
“We want a future where we can take responsibility for our own health and immunity whilst protecting the vulnerable and reducing health inequalities. We want to draw on the services of a traditional family GP…one we know by name and can see in person. We must be able to look after our loved ones.”
A selection of quotes from the report are given below.
People do see their health as their own responsibility.
I do not fear my own health because I AM in control of my own health. Self-responsibility is the cure. Standing up for our human rights and freedoms is the cure.
I don't need the government telling me what to do, I'm capable of determining my own health status & doing something about it.
Male, 45-54, Fitness Coach, KBF Member
People should take responsibility for their health and realise that they will be more susceptible to viruses etc if they don't. I take care with my health, I don't want locking down because others can't do as I do.
Female, 55-64, Teaching assistant, KBF Member
The secondary health impacts of recent measures can be substantial.
The health worries I am suffering from, stress and anxiety are as a direct result of the lockdown.
Female, 45-54, Teacher, KBF Member
I have never had suicidal thoughts until a few months into lockdown. It is my distrust of the government handling of this, and unnecessary restrictions, which have caused me to feel so hopeless.
Female, 45-54, KBF Follower
I don't get any respite for my son, he has become more dependent on me as he is struggling with his mental health and that is very hard for me. He needs constant reassurance from me.
Female, 45-54, KBF Member
Hospitals have sat empty for months (as a nurse I've witnessed this first hand staff sat on wards in groups, with nothing to do) while people like my dad were left with debilitating easily fixed conditions (double hernia).
Female, 35-44, Nurse, KBF Follower
My 91 year old mother is a prisoner in her care home. For much of the Lockdown she was in Forced isolation in her 10’ square room meals brought to her. No actual GP visits when she became ill, [just] a video link call. No visitors for 3 months. Still not allowed out. Physically and mentally gone downhill.
Male, 55-64, KBF Member
A named GP you can see in person.
It’s all well and good for people of my generation to use GP on line services but for the elderly and those who are less abled and or vulnerable a face to face GP appointment is vital. I was appalled to read Matt Hancock suggesting that GPs do not fall back into “bad habits” in reference to face to face appointment. It was at this point I personally decided that there was an agenda to privatize the NHS.
Female, 45-54, Therapist, KBF Follower
Telephone consultations are no use for hard of hearing and deaf people. Or those with severe anxiety. E-mail or face to face is essential for these people. I have been completely abandoned!
Male, 45-54, KBF Member
In June, I had to go to A&E and wait 10 hours for a condition that could easily have been sorted by a face to face consultation with a GP. I had a 3 minute telephone consultation with my GP that achieved nothing. Severe pain forced me to go to A&E. My mother has had to go private due to an ailment she would otherwise have gone to the NHS for, for which she had no help from her local GP. We are considering going private for my wife too, even though she works for the NHS!
Male, 45-54, Graphic Designer, KBF Follower