People aged 18 to 24 rely on acute emergency services to provide medical and health advice than other age groups, research from healthcare company PAGB has found.
The study found that 42% of younger people used A&E services as a source of medical advice. This figure fell as the age of the groups rose, with 33% of 25 to 34 year olds using A&E for information, 29% of those aged 35 to 44, and 20% of over 55s.
‘If we are to improve people’s health, we need to be supporting the public to look after their own health better, whether that involves making healthier lifestyle choices, being prepared for common winter illnesses, or knowing where to go to get healthcare advice,’ said Wendy Nicholson, lead nurse for children, young people and families at Public Health England. ‘As well as benefiting individuals, this will also lead to a healthier population and reduce pressure on frontline NHS services.’
Younger people were also much more likely to use the internet to find information about their health. The study found that 97% of those aged 18 to 24 said they used Google as a source of medical information, compared with 69% of those aged over 55. Similarly, people in the 18 to 24 age group used NHS Choices for advice about their health, with 84% reporting that they accessed the site, while 51% of over 55s responded in kind.
Pharmacy services were comparatively underused, with 52% of younger people using it for advice compared to 65% of those over 55 years. This is despite 99% of the population being able to get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by car and 96% by walking or using public transport.