BARNSLEY’S crammed GP practices now have hundreds more registered patients than a decade ago - despite there being less doctors available to see according to new analysis into the ‘crisis’.

The Royal College of GPs said action is needed to recruit more doctors and keep them in the profession longer as patient lists become ‘unsustainable’.

NHS Digital figures show 119 full-time equivalent, fully-trained GPs were working at surgeries in the borough in November - in line with the year before.

However, the NHS has lost more than 400 individual GP partners and 244 salaried, locum and retainer GPs in the last 12 months.

This has created a net loss of 646 individual GPs since January 2022, leading to a knock-on impact on waiting times at Barnsley Hospital’s A and E as patients seek help elsewhere due to a lack of appointments at GPs.

It means the patient list of the average Barnsley GP practice grew by an average of 250 people last year, an increase of 13 per cent.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The latest available figures show that GPs and our teams are working harder than ever to make sure patients receive the care and services they need under difficult circumstances.

“The data makes clear that the need for our care continues to spiral, yet we still have fewer qualified, full-time equivalent GPs than before the pandemic and we need practical action to address this.”

She added the increasing demand for GP services and overall fall in fully qualified doctors has led to the average patient list ‘becoming unsustainable’.

“Without significant investment in general practice and increased efforts to keep the GPs in the profession, meeting the increasing demand for care will be an incredible challenge,” Prof Hawthorne added.

Nationally, there were 27,483 fully-trained GPs in England in November - a marginal increase from the 27,392 last November.

But in September 2015, the earliest available figures, there were 29,364, meaning almost 1,900 GPs have been lost over the last eight years.

Dr Julius Parker, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee for England, said: “There are no two ways about it: we are in the midst of a GP workforce crisis.

“We are having to do more work with fewer resources and are being stretched to the limit, leaving patients frustrated that they cannot always access the care they need.

“More GPs are needed to provide the level of care that people deserve and we want to deliver.

“The government must prioritise GP recruitment and retention, otherwise the NHS will continue to haemorrhage doctors, putting patient care and safety at risk.”