Sussex workers want digital GPs, study reveals

Workplace telemedicine offers a convenient, flexible solution, says Willis Towers Watson
Workplace telemedicine offers a convenient, flexible solution, says Willis Towers Watson

One in five workers in the south east would rather use a digital GP service than visit their doctor’s surgery, according to a wellbeing study.

Telemedicine services can be a quick way to solve the more minor illnesses and save time in everyone’s hard-pressed lives, it said.

Mike Blake, health and wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson

Mike Blake, health and wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson

Read more: Paramedic drone invention sees young scientist praised for innovation

The study of 2,000 UK workers by Willis Towers Watson found 22 per cent in the south east would rather go online and use video links to access GP services such as medical advice, consultations or prescriptions.

Mike Blake, wellbeing lead, said: “Telemedicine can enable employees to receive a swift diagnosis and treatment, particularly for less complex illnesses and medical conditions, without the need to take time off work.

“When used appropriately, it has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity and employee engagement while reducing the burden on primary care services.”

Read more: Doctors and hospitals in Sussex urged to form links with clinics in Africa to support The Virtual Doctors charity

Nationally, the research found younger workers were more likely to use telemedicine, with 41 per cent of employees aged 18 to 24 preferring to use digital GPs, compared to just 16 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

This post-millennial workforce was found to be three times more likely than over-55s to have cancelled a scheduled GP appointment in the past 12 months - 24 per cent compared to eight per cent, and six times more likely to be a no-show - 24 per cent compared to four per cent .

Mr Blake added: “Culturally, Millennials and Generation Z are used to accessing anything, anywhere at any time and accept mobile tech, subscription and on-demand services as the everyday norm.

“These younger workers are perhaps less prepared than their older colleagues to wait, to make arrangements or to take time out of their working day, for appointments.

“Workplace telemedicine offers a convenient, flexible solution by bringing GP services into the ‘on-demand services’ fold.”

The study found 45 per cent of all workers who failed to turn up to GP appointments said they forgot, 35 per cent said they arrived late, 33 per cent said work commitments prevented attendance and 20 per cent said they were unable to arrange transport.

Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign launches in Sussex