Monday 19 March 2018

Revealed: How much we spend visiting the doctor each year

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Patients in Ireland visit their general practitioner on average three times a year and spend €171 each in the process.

But one-in-five spends more than €250 visiting their doctor, according to research that has been conducted by Amárach for online consultants VideoDoc.

Parents who need to visit a GP also incur further costs, with the average cost of childcare adding €50 to outlay.

A standard visit is between €55 and €60 according to recent comments from Health Minister Simon Harris, who said it was too expensive.

The research found those forced to take time off work end up spending six hours on average to visit their doctor.

The survey found four out of 10 adults agree the average waiting time to see a GP is too long.

Many say that in the last six months they needed to see a GP outside of traditional surgery hours.

In an effort to reduce medical bills, more than half of Irish people now "Google their symptoms" in the hope of avoiding GP costs, something that is more common among women than men. Many visits are for straightforward matters like repeat prescriptions or cold and flu symptoms.

A sample of 1,000 people nationwide were surveyed.

VideoDoc offers unlimited online consultations for an annual subscription of €35. The family rate is €110.

The survey comes after TDs were told that general practice in Ireland is "just hanging in there".

Reform, investment and political commitment is needed if the healthcare system is to move to a primary care-led system, TDs were told recently by Dr Tom O'Dowd, emeritus professor of general practice at Trinity College Dublin.

Irish Independent

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