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University of Cambridge

Worries over wasting their doctor’s time, particularly at a time when NHS resources are stretched, may influence when and whether patients choose to see their GP, according to a study carried out by the University of Cambridge.

In the study, published today in the journal Social Science and Medicine, researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research report how the theme of ‘wasting doctors’ time’ arose so often during interviews conducted with patients about their experiences of primary care that they chose to study this topic in its own right.

“‘Am I wasting the doctor’s time?’ is a question that many patients ask themselves when deciding whether or not to visit the doctor,” explains Dr Nadia Llanwarne, who led the study. “We already knew that this worry existed among some patients, but this is the first study entirely dedicated to the subject that reports the existence of this worry among a variety of patients, young and old, healthy and sick, visiting their GP for a wide range of complaints.”

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