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Men’s Health Week survey shows long waiting times and inconvenient opening hours main reasons men don’t go to the GP

A Men’s Health Week survey (12-18 June) created by the Men and Boys Coalition, a charity championing the wellbeing of men and boys across the UK, shows that three in five men (61.3%) say they face barriers in getting to see a GP.

The three main reasons for giving that answer were:

  • Long waiting times (54%) – increasing to 71.2% for men aged 45-54 and 80.8% for men over 65+
  • Opening hours which are not convenient due to work (23.7%) – increasing to 26.9% for men aged 25-34 and 27% for men 35-44
  • A belief that GPs only deal with people who are very ill (20.1%) – increasing to 31.3% for those aged 55-64

Given the damaging societal narrative that men do not go to the doctors because of ‘toxic masculinity’, wanting not ‘to appear weak’ and a tendency to avoid dealing with health problems, only 14.2% said that a barrier was that they were “a man so would tough it out”.

One other trend was that whilst 11.4% of men said the location of a GP surgery was not convenient with respect to where they work, and 9.6% said their employer would not let them take off time for work to see a GP – the figures were higher for younger men.

In terms of location, 13.5%, 14.1% and 14.5% of men aged 18-24, 25-34 and 34-45 respectively raised it as a barrier. In addition, 13.5% and 14.7% of men aged 18-24 and 25-34 raised their employers consent as a barrier.

There continues to be a crisis in men’s health in the UK with (see full list in Notes to Editors):

  • One in five men not living until they are 65
  • 13 men every day taking their own life due to suicide
  • 33 men every day dying of prostate cancer
  • 88 men dying of heart disease every day
  • Over two men every week are killed in work-related accidents (95% of all deaths at work are men)
  • Life expectancy for men fell between 2018 and 2020
  • 100,000 UK men died of Covid-19

The Men and Boys Coalition, alongside other organisations such as the Men’s Health Forum, ManKind Initiative, Andy’s Man Club and Global Action on Men’s Health, and leading health academics have called for a Men’s Health Strategy. This is also supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Issues Affecting Men and Boys. A key element of a Men’s Health Strategy would be to make the NHS including GPs become more accessible to men. By being more male-friendly this would increase the number of men feeling they are able to, and, actually do seek help for their health.

Mark Brooks OBE, trustee of the Men and Boys Coalition, said:

“Men’s health in the UK is not improving and there are a broad range of reasons for this that need to be addressed. This includes the fact that three in five men find barriers getting in the way of seeing a GP.

“Some of these barriers are because of the way the health service operates including appointment waiting times which everyone recognises the need to address alongside opening hours and location. There are also real or perceived employer barriers and fears what others, including employers, may think. We need a men’s health strategy which give some focus on addressing this.

“It is important to also note that the main reason men do not go to see their GP, is not because they feel they should not go because they are a man, should ‘tough it out or ‘show no weakness’. This is essentially a myth that victim-blames men, when services should be better tailored to men’s needs.”

Nick Fletcher MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Issues Affecting Men and Boys, said:

“These findings chime with our recent reports on men’s health and male suicide that the NHS including GPs are not as male-friendly as they should be.

“The responsibility should be on the NHS to bring its services closer to men so they fit better with men’s work patterns both in terms of time and also in terms of location.

“It is clear there is still work to be done by employers and young men, and more research is needed, especially around the types of occupations where men feel reluctant to tell their bosses that they need to go the GP.”

Darren Ryan, Global Creative Director – 3Gem Research & Insights, said:  

“The findings of our research underpin the need to empower more men to prioritise their health and when necessary, seek medical advice from a GP. It’s clear from the research that more work is needed to break down the numerous barriers that are deterring men from visiting their GPs.

“Ultimately by fostering more open dialogue and raising awareness of these statistics will help break down these barriers and create a system that caters to the needs and well-being of all men.”


Notes to Editors

1          Research was carried out by 3Gem Research & Insights from 26th May – 30th May 2023. The survey findings are based on 1,000 responses from men only (18+) in the UK.

3Gem Research & Insights utilise industry-standard panel management systems and adhere to stringent quality control procedures. Offering double opt-in, GDPR compliant B2C and B2B panels across 52+ markets globally. 3Gem Research & Insights abide by the MRS Code of Conduct and are corporate members of ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research). For more information, please visit

2          The Men and Boys Coalition ( is the umbrella charity for the UK’s men and boys’ sector. It is a network of more than 100 leading practitioners, academics, charities and advocates whose work is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of men and boys. Its vision is a society that values the wellbeing of men and boys. The Men and Boys Coalition is a registered charity (CIO) No. 1183014.

3          Further information about Men’s Health Week and the campaign for a Men’s Health Strategy can be found on the Men’s Health Forum website:

4          Information about the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Issues Affecting Men and boys can be found on:

5          For further Information, please contact Mark Brooks, Trustee on 07834 452357 and

6.         The full results table is:

Q1. Do you feel there are barriers in place that prevent you from making an appointment to see a General Practitioner (GP)?Yes61.3%
Don’t know5.3%
Q2. What barriers prevent you from making an appointment to see a General Practitioner (GP)?Long waiting times for an appointment54.0%
Opening hours are not convenient due to my work commitments23.7%
I believe GPs only deal with people who are very ill20.1%
I am a man so I will tough it out14.2%
I have poor past experience of health services13.5%
Poor reputation of local GPs12.9%
Lack of recognition or understanding that a GP may be able to help me11.9%
Location of GP is not convenient with respect to my place of work11.4%
I have a fear over what might be found11.1%
I’m reluctant to seek help from a GP10.6%
My employer will not let me take time off work to see a GP9.6%
I don’t feel that the health service/GPs are male-friendly8.6%
Language barriers7.2%
I’m concerned about alerting my employer to the fact I may need medical help6.7%
I fear about privacy and confidentiality6.4%
Other – please specify5.5%

7.         Key Facts about Men’s Health

1)            1 in 5 men do not live to 65.

2)             Between March 2020 and December 2022, 78,948 men (65,313 women) died unexpectedly, with double the number of men dying unexpectedly than women between 55 and 64.

3)             99,914 men and 82,274 women died from Covid-19 between March 2020 and December 2022, with clear disparities based on age.

4)             88 men die prematurely every day from heart disease (more than double than women).

5)             33 men die every day from prostate cancer.

6)             17 men die every day from an alcohol-specific condition (more than double than women)

7)             13 men die every day by suicide (three in every four)

8)             Over two men every week are killed in work-related accidents (95% of the total)

9)             The male mortality rate fell for men between 2018 and 2020

10)          244 men die from cancer every day (89,200) and make up 53% of all cancer deaths.

11)          Diabetes 9.6% of men have type 1 or type 2 diabetes (7.6% of women).

12)          The gap between the five least healthy local authorities for males (Glasgow City, Dundee City, Blackpool, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire) and the healthiest (Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden, Harrow and Rutland) is 12 years.


1)             Office for National Statistics, Deaths registered in England and Wales (2021):

2)             Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Excess mortality in England and English regions (2022):

3)                   Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Excess mortality in England and English regions (2022):

4)            Office for National Statistics, Ischaemic heart diseases deaths including comorbidities, England and Wales (2021):

5)            Cancer Research UK, Statistics by Cancer Type (2017-19):

6)            Office for National Statistics, Causes of death – Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK (2021):

7)            Office for National Statistics, Suicides in England and Wales (2022):

                Public Health Scotland, Suicide statistics for Scotland (2022):

                Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Suicide Statistics (2020),

8)            Health and Safety Executive, Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain (2022):

9)            Office for National Statistics, National life tables – life expectancy in the UK: 2018 to 2020 (2021):

10)          Cancer Research UK, Cancer mortality for all cancers combined:

11)               Public Health England, Diabetes Prevalence Model 2016:

12)          DLUHC, Levelling Up the United Kingdom: