Table 1

Low impact consultations and high impact non-consultations in the previous two weeks by symptom

Level of symptom seriousness *

Symptom

n

Low impact consultations

High impact non-consultations ††


n

%

n

%


1

Feeling tired/run down

887

12

1.4

201

22.7

Difficulty sleeping

607

12

2.0

155

25.5

Sore throat

411

17

4.1

39

9.5

Cold or flu symptoms

372

9

2.4

52

14.0

Diarrhoea

266

9

3.4

37

13.9

Loss of appetite

117

6

5.1

16

13.7


2

Back pain

653

15

2.3

144

22.1

Nervousness/anxiety

405

10

2.5

88

21.7

Cough

372

12

3.2

48

12.9

Nausea/feeling sick

259

6

2.3

36

13.9

Constipation

203

4

2.0

11

5.4

Vomiting

95

2

2.1

24

25.3


3

Headaches

845

5

0.6

143

16.9

Joint pain

678

30

4.4

141

20.8

Indigestion/heartburn

392

13

3.3

41

10.5

Feeling depressed

353

12

3.4

100

28.3

Stomach/abdominal pain

337

20

5.9

66

19.6

Dizziness

194

9

4.6

21

10.8

Wheezy chest

158

14

8.9

16

10.1

Fainting

14

2

14.3

4

28.6


4

Shortness of breath

176

15

8.5

23

13.1

Blood in stool

52

9

17.3

1

1.9

Unintentional weight loss

37

3

8.1

5

13.5


5

Chest pain

108

8

7.4

12

11.1

Coughing up blood

4

0

0

1

25.0


All symptoms combined

7995

254

3.2

1384

17.3


* Level of symptom seriousness perceived by a sample of GPs, where level 1 is least serious and includes symptoms usually indicative of trivial/self-limiting illness and level 5 is most serious and includes symptoms that could be indicative of a serious condition or illness

† Consulted GP for symptoms self-rated as low severity (1-3 on a standard 5-point severity scale) and causing no or little interference on daily life (1-3 on a standard 5-point interference scale)

†† Did not consult GP for symptoms self-rated as high severity (4 or 5 on a standard 5 point severity scale) and/or causing considerable interference on daily life (4 or 5 on a standard 5-point interference scale)

Elliott et al. BMC Family Practice 2012 13:21   doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-21

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