Increasing waits of up to four weeks to see a GP could be posing a “serious risk” to patients.
The chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs claims overstretched medics are struggling to keep waiting times down during the busy winter period.
Helen Stokes-Lampard said if some patients are forced to wait three to four weeks “the non-urgent stuff may become urgent”.
“If you’ve suddenly developed a lump, or you’ve got a funny pain somewhere, you know it’s not desperately urgent for you to see your GP today but you’d like to see a GP within a few days, you’d certainly like to see them within a week to 10 days because actually you’re worried.
“With lumps or bleeding problems or things that could be signs of serious disease, my profound concern is that people will delay seeking help for things that could potentially be life-threatening or life-changing if they are not tackled swiftly.
“Extended waiting times pose a serious risk because of all those unintended consequences.”
Labour’s shadow health minister, Julie Cooper, said: “The Government needs to wake up to the fact that there is a full-scale crisis in the NHS at every level.
An NHS England spokesman said: “GP services are on track to receive an extra £2.4bn in real terms investment by 2020.”