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Are you on first-name terms with your doctor? Or do you prefer to keep your distance? According to the latest NHS Digital data, 91% of Brits are currently registered with a GP. That leaves over 6 million people in the UK unable to book an appointment if they need medical advice.

Here at National Accident Helpline, we carried out a survey of 2,000 UK residents to learn more about how we react when we suffer an injury. And it turns out the majority of us - 57% - don't see our GP on a regular basis.

It's normal to hear our friends and family say they're ‘sure it's fine', but while there's no need to rush to A&E for minor bumps and bruises, are we guilty of staying away when we need urgent care? Below, we break down our findings.  

Do we seek medical advice when we need it?

We asked the British public how long they would wait, if at all, before seeking medical advice for a variety of injuries. And from broken bones to fractures and other serious accidents, it appears a worrying number of us would put off seeking professional care.

Seek attention for a broken ankle

As many as 1 in 5 wouldn't seek immediate medical attention for a broken ankle, 17% would delay a trip to the doctors after a serious arm injury, while a broken leg wouldn't force 15% to get help right away.

Perhaps more worryingly, 35% of Brits wouldn't rush to receive care after suffering a head injury. That figure rises to 57% for neck injuries, the consequences of which can be all too severe.

Do we seek medical advice when we don't need it? 

With an ageing population and regular budget cuts, it's no secret that the UK health system is already under considerable strain. Our attitude to injuries works both ways, however, and there are those among us who are overzealous in seeking help.

1 in 10 survey respondents told us they would seek immediate medical attention for minor cuts and grazes, while a similar number would do the same for muscle sprains.

This goes against official NHS guidance which states that most injuries of these types can be treated at home and should heal within a couple of days.      

How long do we put off seeing a professional on average?

average time to seek medical attention

How long do we put off seeing a professional on average?

For more serious injuries such as broken legs, ankles and arms, most of us would see a professional within two days of the accident occurring. We wait on average two days and five hours to seek advice for head injuries, three days and three hours for burns, and just over five-and-a-half days for neck injuries.

That time extends to over eight and nine days for rib, arm and hand injuries respectively. The injury we'll wait longest to seek advice on - 16 days and 11 hours on average - is a muscle sprain.

Is there a gender split?

Is there a gender split?

There is - but only slightly. 46% of men overall will seek immediate medical attention for all the injuries mentioned above, compared to 42% of women. 18% of men will do so within one day, but only 13% of women will be as quick.

And what about those who prefer to stay away entirely? The results are tied at 13% each.

The most and least health-aware cities

Finally, we used a simple scoring system to rank each of the major UK cities based on the swiftness of their residents in seeking medical attention.

most health aware cities

Those in Belfast, Edinburgh and Birmingham are the fastest to seek help after an injury, with Londoners and Bristolians rounding out the top five.

least helath aware cities

At the other end of the scale are Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds, where residents are the least health-aware in the country. Those living in Norwich and Nottingham meanwhile, aren't much quicker in getting help.  

Would you seek immediate medical attention following a serious injury? Whatever your situation, we're here to help put things right if you feel it wasn't your fault.