As GPs vote on industrial action, a leading expert says a 5-minute blood test MOT will help slash surgery visits

Ballots are going out this week to decide whether GPs will take industrial action over ‘unsustainable workloads’, while patients struggle to see their doctor in person. Dr Quinton Fivelman says a simple and quick blood test will identify warning signs before they become a problem, cutting down surgery visits and reducing the impact of Covid on the nation’s general health.

By November last year, there were 26 million fewer GP visits than normal due to peoples’ fears over Covid-19. This year, conversely, demand to see doctors in person is so high that GPs are voting to take industrial action.

Fears are now growing that many illnesses will go unrecognised as a result of the collapse in routine health checks.  Dr Quinton Fivelman, PhD, the Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, says a simple 5-minute blood test, that can even be done in the comfort of your home, will reduce pressure on surgeries and help spot many health issues before they become a problem.

Says Dr Fivelman: ‘Our latest research shows health testing, such as blood tests, fell by 80% last year in primary care. Around 41% of adults delayed or avoided medical care. Nearly one out of three women put off seeing their GP because of the pandemic and even more men – who, let’s face it, are less likely to visit their doctor even at the best of times – avoided surgery visits. One family practitioner said 75% of her patients were female last year.

‘This year, the pendulum has swung the other way. Doctors are being inundated with demands to be seen in person and the Government is even planning to name and shame underperforming surgeries who don’t hold enough face-to-face meetings. There’s little wonder that the British Medical Association (BMA) has sent out ballots to medical practices across England this week to see if doctors are willing to take industrial action.

‘Against this background, there’s little doubt that illnesses ranging from Type 2 diabetes to potential strokes to heart attacks are being missed daily. Yet a simple and quick blood test, available at many drop-in clinics, or even done at home, will identify potential issues before they become a problem, reducing the workload on GPs’ practices and reassuring patients.

‘London Medical Laboratory’s own state-of-the-art Well Man and Well Woman Premier Plus tests, for example, measure around 40 individual readings, ranging from vitamins, iron and calcium to full blood count, thyroid stimulating hormones and Oestradiol. Postal kits that measure your blood sugar to detect diabetes, thyroid function and even cholesterol are also readily available as they require less blood and can be done in the comfort of your home.

‘From these results, patients can learn whether they are at risk of a variety of health issues, from diabetes to strokes to potential blood cancers or thyroid problems. They are a snapshot of someone’s overall health and could do much to reverse the impact of Covid on the general health of the population if there was a widespread take up.

‘The new generation blood tests are highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer this test. They take only around five minutes, with results usually emailed the next day. For full details, women should see: https://www.londonmedicallaboratory.com/product/well-woman-premier-plus-profile and men: https://www.londonmedicallaboratory.com/product/well-man-premier-plus-profile