Ever self-diagnosed using Google? There’s no shame in admitting it, Doctor. We’ve done it. Everyone’s done it. But an analysis of Google data has found just how badly we’re looking to get a quick-fix for pain, injuries and niggles.
The analysis found that Brits are searching more than 100,000 times a year to get a miracle cure.
‘How to know if chest pains are serious’ is a common search term, with queries increasing by 8781 per cent in the past three years, from 2015 to 2018.
But it doesn’t end there. Searches for acne, IBS and sciatica are the most common queries in the time covered by the analysis.
‘Acne treatment’, ‘IBS treatment’ and ‘cold sore treatment’ were all searched over 100,000 times a year on average, while ‘chest pain’, kidney pain’ and ‘stomach pain’ were almost at 500,000 searches.
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It’s believed that increasing pressure on the NHS correlates with the heightened searches. “Currently, over one million people a week in the UK struggle to get themselves seen by a doctor when they need it,” said Hannah Sims, product manager at Perkbox Medical, which commissioned the research. “GP surgeries tend to only be open during the usual working hours and are stretched to fit everyone in, pushing appointment waiting times to around two weeks.”
“The NHS has been looking after the health of the nation for 70 years now,” she said. “It’s a wonderful system, but it isn’t without its challenges, particularly in primary care.”
Currently, the average consultation time in the UK is a measly 10 minutes — thought to be the shortest in the developed world — which has led to this huge surge in health searches and a worrying trend of self-diagnosis. That said, if you’re experiencing any pain or injuries, book an appointment with your GP here.