More than a quarter (27%) of patients have not been able to see a GP within a week of calling for an appointment, according to a report.
While nearly a third (30%) of patients questioned in an online survey said they could get an appointment with their local doctor within 48 hours, another 27% said they could not see their GP within a week over the past year.
Around two-thirds (65%) reported avoiding a GP or living with medical problems longer than they would like, due to being unable to secure a GP appointment.
The research carried out on behalf of insurance firm Aviva also highlighted regional variations in waiting times.
The East Midlands had the highest percentage of people able to see a GP within two days at 37%, followed by the West Midlands at 35% and the South West at 34%.
By comparison, 39% of people living in Wales and 35% of patients in Scotland had to wait more than a week for a GP appointment. Only 18% needed to wait that long in the North East.
Overall, four-fifths of those surveyed were happy with the standard of advice and treatment they were eventually given.