Some 24% of patients said they were afraid of visiting their GP surgery, according to the survey of 2,000 UK adults.
The survey, conducted by Fletchers Solicitors, found that more patients were afraid of visiting their GP than their optician (17%), but less than the third (34%) who admitted to being scared of the dentist.
Four in five (79%) of those who admitted fears said they would hesitate to seek medical advice regularly as a result.
Patients put fear of the unknown or concerns about finding previously unknown health problems as the biggest contributors to their unease.
Fear of medical treatment
This was followed by a fear of medical equipment, bad childhood memories, bad adulthood experiences and then potential pain.
Three quarters of those who feared the GP said their fear had originated during childhood and continued into adulthood, with patients in the 55-64 age range most likely to have a fear of the waiting room.
Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, said: ‘It’s interesting to see just how many Britons fear seeking face-to-face medical advice – many really do have a fear of the doctor’s waiting room or dentist’s chair, which for many continue throughout adulthood.
‘It is important that everyone is at ease when they have a medical problem or question so that they speak to a medical professional when they need to. Putting off appointments is something many are guilty of but this can be dangerous.’