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A third of people with medical concerns delay visiting their GP

Men leave it the longest before having a medical problem seen to

GPs believe almost one in three (31%) patients delay visiting them when they have a potential medical issue, even when they have symptoms indicating something serious.

The survey from Direct Line Life Insurance found the most common health concerns GPs say patients delay visiting them about are influenza and pneumonia (53%), respiratory diseases (48%), heart disease and cancer (both 26%).

However, GPs believe over a third (35%) of serious illness cases could have resulted in a better outcome if the patient had visited them sooner. 

People delay making an appointment with their GP because…
36% didn’t think the illness was serious enough
26% were worried about wasting the GP’s time
9% were worried about receiving bad news
9% were embarrassed by their medical problem
Source: Direct Life Insurance

One in nine people waited a month or more last time they thought something was wrong with their health before booking an appointment with a medical professional, and 13% didn’t book an appointment at all.

The reasons people delay booking an appointment with a GP vary, with over a third of people (36%) not thinking the illness was serious enough and a quarter (26%) worried about wasting a GP’s time.

Another 9% didn’t see a doctor because they were worried about receiving bad news, while a similar proportion didn’t go because they felt their medical problem was embarrassing.

The most common health concerns GPs say
patients delay visiting them about are…
Influenza and pneumonia (53%)
Respiratory diseases (48%)
Cancer (26%)
Heart disease (26%)
Source: Direct Life Insurance

Two thirds (66%) of GPs said it is men who leave it the longest before having a medical problem seen to.

Chloe Couper, business manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, warned that health concerns not attended to by a doctor are likely to get worse the longer they are left untreated.