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GP shortage: the 17 areas of England worst hit as doctors brand pressures ‘unsustainable’

There are ‘stark differences’ in the number of GPs working in different parts of England, new analysis reveals.

Some areas of England are having to get by with half the number of GPs for their population compared to others, analysis of NHS figures shows.

The Royal College of GPs has warned that while there is a national shortage of GPs, some areas “face greater difficulties” recruiting much-needed staff.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, called on the Government to “make good on its manifesto promise of 6,000 more full time equivalent GPs” by 2024.

He said: “GPs want to be able to consistently give their patients the care they deserve, no matter where they live in the country, but the intense workload and workforce pressures facing general practice are unsustainable.”

The Nuffield Trust, which published the analysis of NHS data, said the “stark differences” show up NHS failings.

Senior Fellow Billy Palmer said: "These disparities mean people in some areas are less able to access their family doctor than people elsewhere.

“In an NHS founded on the principle of equal treatment, such stark differences represent a serious failing."

But the Government said a record number of people started training as GPs last year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are hugely grateful for the care GPs and their staff provide to patients and we are working hard to support and grow the workforce.

“There were over 1,400 more doctors working in general practice in March 2022 compared to the same time in 2019 and a record-breaking number started training as GPs last year.

“We have invested £520 million to expand GP capacity during the pandemic, on top of £1.5 billion until 2024 and we are making 4,000 training places available for GPs each year, helping to create an extra 50 million appointments a year.”

It is not the only area of the health service facing huge challenges after the pandemic - hospitals are seeing waiting lists reach record levels.

Here are the 17 areas of England where there are fewer than 50 GPs per 100,000 patients.