New research has found that over half of UK students are avoiding making appointments with their GPs.
The survey of 1000 students by digital health provider, Push Doctor, found that 55 per cent of students are not arranging appointments with their GPs when they are ill.
Among students who said they did not visit their GP, 47 per cent admitted that this had resulted in their condition getting worse.
The survey also revealed the long waiting times facing students trying to make GP appointments.
Although 71 per cent of students expected that they would be able to see their GP within a week, two thirds of students said that they had to wait between one and two weeks on average for an appointment.
In Northern Ireland (the worst affected area), 31 per cent of students had to wait three weeks or longer for an appointment.
Long waiting times were not the only reason why many students purposefully avoided making GP appointments.
Students also cited inconvenience (30 per cent), not having enough time to make appointments (29 per cent), the unavailability of appointments (19 per cent), embarrassment or anxiety (11 per cent) and the feeling that they were a burden on the NHS (7 per cent) as factors deterring them from visiting their local practice.
Many respondents were also frustrated by the amount of time they had to wait on the day of their appointment.
Frustrations included the fact that symptoms had often disappeared by the time they got an appointment (35 per cent), the fact they had to take time off work or their study (21 per cent), appointments running late (19 per cent), waiting rooms (14 per cent) and the crowdedness of waiting areas (5 per cent).
Dr Adam Simon, Chief Medical Officer at Push Doctor, commented:
It is very admirable to see that so many students feel like a burden when they are ill. But those same students who are avoiding making appointments with their GPs are not only putting their health at risk but also their studies.
Whether it is minor infection or a little bit of stress, if you are unwell you should prioritize getting better as quickly as possible before you symptoms get any worse. Putting your health and wellbeing second could also negatively affect your studies.