Prescription renewals a key reason for GP visits, survey says

Patients are paying ‘more than €50’ each time they go to a doctor to renew a prescription

A new survey found  one-quarter of people on repeat prescriptions pay more than €50 each time they go to a GP for a renewal. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA

A new survey found one-quarter of people on repeat prescriptions pay more than €50 each time they go to a GP for a renewal. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

Almost 40 per cent of people cite prescription renewals as their most common reason for visiting a GP, according to a report released on Wednesday by online GP consultation service MyClinic.

The report also found one-quarter of people on repeat prescriptions pay more than €50 each time they visit a GP to have their prescription renewed.

MyClinic was established in 2015. Its report was based on an online survey conducted over the past 10 days.

MyClinic founder Dr Daniel Clear said the survey showed the potential for online tools to alleviate the pressure on GPs and offer better value for patients.

“The pressure on GP surgeries and the waiting times for appointments are well documented,” he said.

“Much of this could be alleviated through the use of online platforms to issue repeat prescriptions and treat certain ailments.

“The survey we published today shows renewal of repeat prescriptions is the second most common reason [overall] why patients visit their GP, after treatment for minor illnesses.”

On prescriptions, Dr Clear said renewing online offers better value and saves time for patients.

“Instead of waiting for a GP appointment and spending €50, patients now have the choice of going online, paying a lower fee, and having their prescription delivered to their door.

“Through greater take-up of online tools, we can alleviate some of the pressures currently crippling our health service.”

The survey also found that six in 10 people have decided not to visit a GP at some stage in their past, despite feeling they needed to.

The most common reason for this decision was “no available appointments”, followed by “the cost was too high”. Some 16.5 per cent of respondents said their decision was because they “felt too anxious”.