Mums more likely to use Google than Dr for sick kids

Mothers are more likely to check Google first before taking their child to the doctor. Photo / Thinkstock
Mothers are more likely to check Google first before taking their child to the doctor. Photo / Thinkstock

Mothers are more likely to turn to "Dr Google" than their family doctor to seek advice if their child is poorly, a British poll suggests.

A new survey found that GPs are third on the list of sources of advice for mothers, behind seeking help from their own mothers and going online.

The poll, conducted by law firm Irwin Mitchell on 2000 mothers from across the UK, found that one in five would go to their GP as their first port of call if their child was ill.

Twenty nine per cent said they would first ask their own mother for advice and 26 per cent said they would rely on the internet for information.

Not wanting to bother their family doctor unnecessarily was the most common reason for mother's turning to other places for advice, with 58 per cent saying this was their reason for seeking help elsewhere.

But one in 10 said they feel like their doctor does not really listen to them and another 14 per cent said they feared they would be "fobbed off".

Almost three in five said that past experience with a doctor has made them feel like a "paranoid mother".

Meanwhile the poll also found that two in five mothers (41 per cent) had questioned a doctor's diagnosis of their child because it differed from what an internet search had suggested.

Of these mothers, some 38 per cent had sought a second opinion for this reason.

"The NHS carries out great work and doctors save lives on a daily basis, but it seems many people are losing confidence without a familiar doctor, a struggle to get an appointment and medical staff who are coping with more people than ever to treat," said Lisa Jordan, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, which commissioned the survey.

"There are real patient safety concerns about the resources available to the NHS and it appears to be driving patients to look elsewhere for expert medical advice - which could prove to be very dangerous.

"The problem with advice over the internet is that it can be difficult to verify how appropriate or accurate the diagnosis is and there is a wealth of information that is out of date or just plain wrong."

- PAA

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